Cyber Threats: Get Protected!
By Craig Chamberlin “The Tech Teacher”
Computer protection from the latest virus threats are a reality every computer user has to deal with. Whether they come in the form of a virus or simple spyware, cyber threats typically cause frustration and anxiety. The truth is, there are a few simple steps you can take for computer protection against even the most crippling viruses and spyware.
Let's start with the first and most obvious step. If you don't have an antivirus software package installed on your machine then your system is currently exposed to risk. Most of the latest virus threats come in the form of file attachments, browser plugins or extensions. These packages can be executed without any protective measures if a virus scanner is not running in the background. The role of a good antivirus is to scan executing files prior to their execution, offering a layer of preventative computer protection.
Many people opt to use a free antivirus. While free antivirus software can be a great way to get started, they often come with very limited features that most paid antivirus software packages include. Most free antiviruses come with a basic file scanner, but don't include browser, e-mail, internet protection or automatic updates. Not having these features can sometimes mean hours of frustration and headaches when a virus slips through the cracks. If you're serious about virus protection, then I'd strongly encourage you to look into purchasing a full copy of antivirus software.
Preventing human error is the second, and less discussed form of protecting your computer from the latest virus threats. Many viruses and spyware get into a computer when a user accidentally clicks advertisements instead of proper download links. If you've been on the internet in the past 5 years, you'll notice a huge surge of banner advertisements attempting to trick users into downloading 3rd party software tools. These tools, although many times useful, come bundled with spyware, adware and viruses. The ultimate goal for those developers is to get as many people to download and install their software as possible.
So how do we prevent ad-based downloads? Well first you'll need to ask yourself whether or not internet advertisements are useful to you. If you feel as most people do, that you could live without them, then there is a simple solution. An independent developer put together a piece of software known as Adblock Plus. This software is designed to detect, and replace, the majority of advertising methods out there. This elegant solution help with computer protection from the latest virus threats before they even get clicked on. The best part? Adblock Plus comes at the extreme price of completely free. Although I would encourage you to consider donating to the developers cause if you can spare it.
So this leaves us with the third method of protecting your computer from cyber threats, reading before accepting. There are a number of amazing free software tools on the internet these days. So many, in fact, that people are left wondering how these companies make any money. The truth is, their money is made on the "inclusion" of software within their free software packages. You may have seen it yourself. During a software installation there is a check box that allows you to accept and authorize the installation of a 3rd party toolbar or search tool. These tools generate income for the company providing you the free software.
Your antivirus will do an exceptional job of catching the latest virus threats as they hit your computer, but they will have very little control over you giving direct authorization to those threats. Software installation and agreements bypass a large number of protective measures built into your operating system - these protective measures include, but are not limited to: your antivirus, firewall and User Account Control profile security.
So how do we deal with these software inclusions on third party tools? The good news is that the majority of legitimate tools allow you to uncheck the box to include the software. So all you need to do is take the extra time during a software installation to make sure that you're not getting something you didn't ask for. Another elegant solution to this is to download a free piece of software known as Unchecky. Unchecky will automatically uncheck common 3rd party bundled software agreements during installation for you. The best part is Unchecky also comes at the reasonable price of free to use.
There is no perfect method for virus protection or computer protection, but there are extremely effective ways to minimize the risk. The most effective way I've learned to protect myself and other's computer from cyber threats is to grab a great antivirus package, install Adblock Plus, install Unchecky and pay extra attention to any software packages I might be installing at the time.