Are Your Systems Protected? – 11 Ways To Avoid Viruses & Spyware

09/09/2016 Filed under IT, Manchester, Support

With businesses moving to more virtual processes and employees increasingly handling daily tasks via computers and electronic devices, making sure your organisation and it’s equipment are safe from damaging viruses, spyware and internet scams. We have put together a list of simple actions to save your business from unintentional but potentially damaging activity through use of IT equipment.


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  1. Install quality antivirus

All Windows users should install professional, business-grade antivirus software on their PCs. Pro-grade antivirus programs update more frequently throughout the day, protect against a wider range of threats, and enable additional protective features.


  1. Install real-time anti-spyware protection

Most free anti-spyware programs do not provide real-time, or active, protection from adware. Trojan, and other spyware infections. While many free programs can detect spyware threats once they’ve infected a system, typically fully paid and licenced anti-spyware programs are required to prevent infections and fully remove those infections already present.


  1. Keep anti-malware application current

Computer users must keep their antivirus and anti-spyware applications up to date. All Windows users must take measures to prevent license expiration, thereby ensuring that their anti-malware programs stay current and continue providing protection against the most recent threats.


  1. Perform daily scans

Regardless of the infection source, enabling complete, daily scans of a system’s entire hard drive adds another layer of protection. These daily scans can be invaluable in detecting, isolating, and removing infections that initially escape security software’s attention.


  1. Disable autorun

Many viruses work by attaching themselves to a drive and automatically installing themselves on any other media connected to the system. Computer users can disable the Windows autorun feature by following Microsoft’s recommendation, which differ by operating system.


  1. Disable image previews in Outlook

Simply receiving an infected Outlook e-mail message can result in a virus infection. Prevent against automatic infection by disabling image previews in Outlook. By default, newer versions of Microsoft Outlook do not automatically display images. But if you or another user has changed the default security settings, you can switch them back by going to Tools | Trust Center, highlighting the Automatic Download option, and selecting “Don’t Download Pictures Automatically In HTML E-Mail Messages or RSS”.


  1. Don’t click on email links or attachments

It’s a mantra most every Windows user has heard repeatedly: Don’t click on email links or attachments. Yet users frequently fail to heed the warning. Users should never click on email attachments without at least first scanning them for viruses using a business-class anti-malware application. As for clicking links, users should access websites by opening a browser and manually navigation to the sites in question.


  1. Surf smart

Many business-class anti-malware applications include browser plug-ins whose preventative features should be deployed and enabled. Unless the plug-ins interfere with normal web browsing, users should leave them enabled. The same is true for automatic pop-up blockers, such as are included in Internet Explorer 8, Google’s toolbar, and other popular browser toolbars. Users should never enter user account, personal, financial or other sensitive information on any web page at which they haven’t manually arrived. They should instead open a web browser, enter the address of the page they need to reach, and enter their information that way, instead of clicking on a hyperlink and assuming the link has directed them to the proper URL. Hyperlinks contained within an e-mail message often redirect users to fraudulent, fake, or unauthorised websites. By entering web addresses manually, users can help ensure that they arrive at the actual page they intend.


  1. Use a hardware-based firewall

Technology professionals and others argue the benefits of software- versus hardware-based firewalls. Often, users encounter trouble trying to share printers, access network resources, and perform other tasks when deploying third-party software-based firewalls. As a result, firewalls may simply be disabled altogether by users.


  1. Deploy DNS protection

Users can protect themselves from poisoned DNS attacks, where by a compromised DNS server directs you to an unauthorised website by changing the way their computers process DNS services. While a computer professional may be required to implement the switch, OpenDNS offers free DNS services to protect users against common phishing, spyware, and other web-based hazards.


  1. Finally, and most importantly, the best protection against malware infections is user behaviour – never take anything at face value. A healthy dose of scepticism goes a long way.