In today’s economic climate, it can seem increasingly difficult to stay on top of technology advancements, especially with cyber-criminals activity constantly challenging security software. Spyware and malware can greatly disrupt your laptop or PC functionality, making it unusable, slow and sometimes even requiring an operating system rebuild. Whether you are at work or at home, users can inadvertently download spyware or malware to devices through unreliable links and attachments, often in the form of ads or phishing emails.
Here are some tips to follow which may help decrease the risk and impact of your device being compromised:
- Don’t take your anti-virus/ anti-spyware software for granted, make sure you keep up-to-date with the latest versions on your computers and devices. Use real-time protection, run scans regularly and look for products which also offer features such as web security and email scanning.
- Be cautious of strange emails, particularly if the email has attachments and/or hyperlinks, a generic or ‘spammy-sounding’ subject line, there are spelling errors or you don’t recognise the sender. If you do recognise the sender, but something seems suspicious, send the person a note asking if they meant to send you the email in question (but don’t forward the email to them as you may expose them to the virus). Likewise if you receive a suspicious email from an organisation you recognise, visit the company website directly, or give them a call.
- Click carefully, – be careful not to click on ads or links on a page when you are browsing websites you don’t know well. If you see an interesting ad, the safest way to access the link is directly via the company’s website.
- Be aware of pop up’s on social media. Games, apps and add-ons are the most common areas to be compromised with spyware, especially on social media platforms so be wary if you use them.
- Regularly back up your computer and devices to an external hard drive or cloud solution. This is a proactive step which will save you a lot of frustration and heartache if your device happens to get affected by a virus.
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