When it comes to security, most people will think of installing anti-virus software (particularly for Windows OS). However, most people are not aware that anti-virus software does not help when you are not taking the necessary precautions.
What anti-virus can’t do
The problem with an anti-virus software is that it can only do so much. While it can scan your computer for virus and update its database with new threats, it doesn’t stop you from performing foolish acts like opening an infected attachment from your email. For those stuff, only you can help yourselves.
In addition to the anti-virus software, here are three important tips to prevent yourself from getting virus attacks:
- Everytime before you are clicking a link, check the URL. Does it contain a trusted domain? The domain is made up of the “top level domain” (i.e. “.com,” “.net,” etc.) right before the first forward slash and the name that comes before the top level domain (i.e. “maketecheasier,” which comes before “.com”). If you find something suspicious about that domain, don’t click the link. Malicious hackers can attempt to deceive you into coming into a page that makes you download a virus in this way.
- Before you download a picture, make sure it ends with an extension like .jpg, .png etc. If there is a “.exe” after the “.jpg”, delete it immediately.
- Here’s something that goes hand in hand with the previous advice. Look at every file that ends with “.exe” that you receive on the Web. Do not open unsolicited emails or messages that contain a “.exe” in any file extension within the content.
When you received a “.exe” file from your friend, talk to him/her and ask did they really something like this. If they didn’t send it and they are not aware of it, you should get them to scan their computers for virus, because their computers are most likely infected.
More recently, virus makers have been looking into archiving their viruses into a “.rar” or “.zip” file. Any compressed archive (i.e. “.rar,” “.zip,” “.tar.gz,” “.gz,” “.bz2,” etc.) should also be inspected. You generally can open these archives without receiving the virus, but don’t open anything contained within them. Just have a look and check for “.exe” files. In fact, here’s a list of many file extensions some viruses like to hide inside of:
- ASP/ASPX (web pages, sometimes could be designed to hijack your browser)
- COM (old-style component object model programs; generally not in use today)
- DLL (sometimes used in fake versions of game patches and fixes)
- DOC (Word documents could contain scripting that is malicious)
- DRV (highly uncommon; used to be for device drivers)
- HTM/HTML (see ASP/ASPX)
- MSO (scripting file often used in MS Word)
- PDF (yes, even PDF files can contain viruses)
- PPT (PowerPoint file)
- VBS (Very volatile; could contain code that damages your operating system functionality)
Not all files with these extensions are viruses, but be wary of those that come from the outside. Normally, no one will send you a CPL file through the web. If someone says it’s music, and it’s not a file extension you recognize for audio (i.e. “.mp3,” “.ogg,” “.wma,” etc.), put it under scrutiny.
Some of the advices above might be common sense stuff, but unsurprisingly, there are still plenty of people receive virus infection everyday. The anti-virus is your computer’s medication, but your judgement should be the first line of defense against the virus attack. If you have questions, ask by clicking “Ask Our Experts Now!” on the right-hand side of the page. If you’re a techie that wants to provide more insight, by all means do so! The comments section below is yours to claim if you’d like to contribute to the dialogue.