Most computers today run at least some form of basic antivirus. In the modern day however, threats have evolved to be more sophisticated, more damaging, and much more common. Ransomware, malware, phishing, and zero-day attacks all work to attack unpatched systems without strong security.
Today, to keep up with increasing threats, you need a supplemental AV to add to Windows Defender. A layered system means more than just virus scanning. A comprehensive security package includes prevention, detection, and system monitoring at a minimum. These layers work together to provide security many times stronger than a stand-alone system.
Reliable, up-to-date, security keeps you safe online. It’s a resolution you simply can’t afford to skip.
Clean Up Files
Cleaning up unnecessary files is the number one way to gain additional storage space on a typical device. It’s cost-effective without any extra hardware purchases.
Almost all computers have files hanging around from old software, data or applications they no longer need. Just like tidying the spare room or de-cluttering the kitchen, clearing files off your desktop and organizing your emails will leave your computer feeling refreshed and new again.
Restart Your Computer
Fully shutting down a computer and rebooting can take time. When you are watching the clock, waiting to start a task or get work done, it can feel like an eternity. Most of us enjoy simply opening the lid or powering on the screen to have everything ready to run.
At times, a computer may not be fully restarted in weeks or even months. Our poor habits can cause issues with running software and the operating system too. Hardware updates, security patches, and critical updates often wait for a reboot before they install. Waiting too long can leave security flaws open and the system vulnerable to attack.
Merely performing a reboot every once in a while (we recommend weekly) can secure your system and help get rid of software problems. Often updates prevent new issues from cropping up too.
Special Note: Just shutting down a computer using the shutdown button does not accomplish the same thing as a RESTART..
Keep Your Computer Away from Dust
Dust, hair, and household debris are one of the major causes of premature death for computers. Fans, used to cool components, suck in house dust as well as the air they need. This dust often clogs up the inside of the device and overheats internal components.
If possible, keep a tower PC off the carpet, don’t run your laptop sitting on the floor, blanket, or soft furnishings. Cleaning out your device is as good a resolution as any, and there’s never a better time than now.
For a little help sticking to your digital new year resolutions and starting off on the right foot, give me a call today at 210-549-6477
More Than A Virus, Common Malware to Watch Out For
The term “virus” is often used to describe many different types of infection a computer might have. Virus, when used as a blanket term, can describe any number of potential computer programs. What these programs have in common are they are typically designed to cause damage, steal data, or spread across the network.
Malware describes software designed to act maliciously on a personal computer. The name ‘malware’ is a shorthand for ‘malicious software’ and describes exactly what it is. A computer virus is a single type of malware that can cause harm to your PC, but it is only one of many.
Short for advertising-supported software, adware is a type of malware that delivers advertisements to your computer. These advertisements are often intrusive, irritating, and often designed to trick you into clicking something you don’t want. A common example of malware is pop-up ads that appear on many websites and mobile applications.
Adware often comes bundled with “free” versions of software that uses this intrusive advertising to make up costs. Commonly it is installed without the user’s knowledge and made excessively difficult to remove.
Spyware is designed to spy on the user’s activity without their knowledge or consent. Often installed in the background, spyware can collect keyboard input, harvest data from the computer, monitor web activity and more.
Spyware typically requires installation to the computer. This is commonly done by tricking users into installing spyware themselves instead of the software or application that they thought they were getting. Victims of spyware are often be completely unaware of its presence until the data stolen is acted on in the form of fraudulent bank transactions or stolen online accounts.
In technical terms a computer virus is a form of malware that is installed inadvertently, causing damage to the user. A typical virus may install a keylogger to capture passwords, logins, and bank information from the keyboard. It might steal data, interrupt programs, and cause the computer to crash.
Modern virus programs commonly use your computers processing power and internet bandwidth to perform tasks remotely for hackers. The first sign of this can be when the computer sounds like it is doing a lot of work when no programs should be running. A computer virus is often spread through installing unknown software or downloading attachments that contain more than they seem.
A particularly malicious variety of malware, known as ransomware, prevents the user from accessing their own files until a ransom is paid. Files within the system are often encrypted with a password that won’t be revealed to the user until the full ransom is paid.
Instead of accessing the computer as normal, the user is presented with a screen which details the contact and payment information required to access their data again.
Ransomware is typically downloaded through malicious file attachments, email, or a vulnerability in the computer system.
Among the most common type of malware today is the computer worm. Worms spread across computer networks by exploiting vulnerabilities within the operating system. Often these programs cause harm to their host networks by consuming large amounts of network bandwidth, overloading computers, and using up all the available resources.
One of the key differences between worms and a regular virus is its ability to make copies of itself and spread independently. A virus must rely on human activity to run a program or open a malicious attachment; worms can simply spread over the network without human intervention.
If you would like us to make sure your systems stay safe from malware, give us a call at 210-549-6477.