How to prevent computer viruses in 10 steps

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1 How to prevent computer viruses in 10 steps Following on from our advice on how to keep your online data secure, we ve created a follow-up outlining how you can keep your computer itself safe. Not only will these tips help protect your computer from viruses but it will prevent your system from becoming slow, crashing for no reason, and losing important files. Our computer experts (the people who make Clear Books software and keep your information safe) have put together a few of their top tips to help you keep your computer secure and protected.

2 1. Don t open unknown attachments If you recognise the name of the sender, it can be tempting to go into autopilot and immediately open the attachment they ve sent you. But before you do, consider if you re expecting anything from this person. Even if you are, read the subject line and content carefully. If an old friend has ed you out of the blue after a decade and the heading is offering to help you make money fast, you can probably presume it s spam. 2. Disable plugins you don t need If you never use plugins such as Flash or Java then make sure to disable them. If you don t, your machine could be vulnerable to an attack caused by an out-of-date plugin. In general, you probably won t need to use Flash or Java for most websites or programmes so it s easier to just get rid of them. 3. Don t disable UAC on Windows User Account Control (UAC) asks you to provide your username and password every time you install something new. This should always be kept enabled so that you are informed and can manually authorise any changes that are made to your computer.

3 4. Don t use your computer as an admin If you log in to your computer via an admin account and something harmful infiltrates your machine, all users data will be compromised and potentially become vulnerable. However, if an individual user account is affected, all other users information is protected. This also prevents other users from being able to delete your files as they can only access their own account. 5. Keep your browser updated If you re using an out-of-date browser, this can expose security vulnerabilities and allow cyber criminals to access your personal information by exploiting weaknesses. In addition, an up-to-date browser will help you have a better user experience in general. 6. Avoid Internet Explorer On a similar note, using Internet Explorer can cause potential security problems. As IE is so widely used, hackers target it more as they have a wider pool of potential victims. Mozilla and Google are also more efficient at keeping their browsers updated and protected.

4 7. Keep your operating system updated As well as keeping your browser updated, it s important that you also make sure your computer s operating system is updated regularly as well. The method for doing this will vary between operating systems. For Windows ensure that Windows Update is set to install updates automatically. If you re using Mac OSX, click on the Apple icon and then App Store. Select Updates from the top of the page and install any updates listed. 8. Only install software you know and trust If you re online and come across a loud and colourful banner enthusiastically offering free smileys or to make your computer 10x faster, it s probably not something you want to click on. And if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. While there is good free software out there, it s unlikely to be advertised to you with flashing banner adverts.

5 9. Ensure you have up-to-date anti-virus Windows Defender (win 8) and Microsoft Security Essentials (win 7) are free from Windows Update and fine for most users purposes. Companies such as AVG, Avira and Avast also offer free options. There are paid options which might be worth investing in if you are particularly concerned about security. 10. Don t trust your account While your account may feel safe and secure you never know what might happen, especially if you use wi-fi in public places. If your address is compromised, make sure that hackers can t find any sensitive information such as credit card details, passwords, or anything else you really wouldn t like others to read. twitter.com/clearbooks facebook.com/clearbooks linkedin.com/company/clear-books

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