Common Causes of Computer Viruses That You Need to Know
Computer viruses can range from mild annoyances to considerable emergencies. In some cases, a single virus infection can compromise a lifetime’s worth of personal information.
Fortunately, while certain viruses can be downright devastating, they’re much easier to avoid than many of us think.
“A little bit of cyber security knowledge and a willingness to change bad online habits can go a very long way in the fight to keep your computer virus-free.”
Security-minded individuals looking to make computer viruses a thing of the past should make sure to avoid the following mistakes.
Lack of Dedicated Antivirus Software
Since most operating systems feature built-in virus-fighting properties, many people believe they no longer need dedicated antivirus software. While it’s true that popular operating systems like Windows and macOS go above and beyond with regard to virus prevention, a dedicated antivirus program is needed to truly bolster your computer’s defenses.
As such, if you currently lack such a program, your PC is vulnerable to an ever-expanding array of cyber threats. For maximum virus protection and peace of mind, there’s simply no way around investing in dependable antivirus software.
When searching for the right antivirus software, keep an eye out for programs that offer easily-accessible support, user-friendliness and consistent updates. Since virus developers and other cyber criminals are working around the clock to get around established defenses, regular antivirus updates are particularly important. To get the lowdown on the most popular antivirus programs, check out user reviews on tech-focused consumer feedback websites.
Failure to Install Software Updates
When working to avoid virus attacks, it’s imperative that you keep your operating system and apps completely up to date. Unsurprisingly, this entails installing pertinent updates as they become available instead of allowing them to pile up.
Placing updates on the backburner may seem like a good idea in the moment, but this type of attitude will ultimately open your computer up to a variety of threats. Many system and app updates are created to combat emerging threats and patch existing security holes. Ergo, the longer you wait to install them, the longer your PC will remain vulnerable.
To help ensure that you’re not tempted to place important updates on the back burner, set your operating system, antivirus software and various apps to install updates automatically. This will essentially remove you from the equation and result in the immediate installation of updates, thereby making your computer much safer.
Refusal to Run Threat Scans
Some viruses take a while to make their presence known. That being the case, it’s entirely possible to have multiple viruses and not even realize it. As is the case with human viruses, early detection can prove crucial to stamping out assorted computer viruses. With this in mind, make a point of running at least one system-wide threat scan every 24 hours.
You can do this through your operating system, dedicated antivirus software or both. As the name suggests, the purpose of these scans is to detect any threats – or potential threats – that are present on your system. The sooner threats are detected, the sooner you can set to work removing them.
Since these scans typically consume very little system memory, they can be comfortably carried out in the background while you’re performing other tasks. Additionally, to save yourself the trouble of manually okaying each threat scan, simply set your operating system and/or antivirus software to carry them out automatically.
Downloading Software from Unsafe Sources
Infected software installation files are among the most common vehicles for virus propagation. To help prevent yourself from ever falling prey to such a trick, make sure to only download software from verifiably safe sites and sources. As an additional layer of caution, use your operating system or antivirus software to scan new installation files for potential threats.
It seems like computer viruses are everywhere these days. No matter which corner of the web you’re trying to navigate, potential virus attacks are an ever-present threat. Additionally, as anyone who’s been impacted by a large-scale virus can confirm, the consequences of a single infection can be severe and far-reaching.
Luckily, in most cases, viruses are very easy to avoid. Through a combination of smart browsing habits, common sense precautionary measures and dedicated security software, you can keep your PC virus-free for years to come. In your quest to keep computer viruses at bay, take care to avoid the blunders discussed above.
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