Need to Know: How to Avoid Malware

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In a day and age where electronic threats are real, it’s best to help secure your computer, electronic devices and information by avoiding malware.

So, what is malware? Malware is software that is specifically designed to disable or damage computers and computer programs, gathering information and sending it to hackers.

The most common way to avoid malware is through email or internet usage. Here are some tips:

  • Never open an email from someone you don’t know. Delete it.
  • If you receive an email from a name you recognize but don’t recognize the email address, contact them directly via telephone or the email you have on file to see if they changed their address. Some emails have information in them that when opened will send a virus by attaching to your address book and sending out an email to all your contacts.
  • If an email appears to be from a shipping company, such as FedEx, your bank or an airline but you aren’t expecting anything, carefully analyze the email address to make sure it’s legitimate before clicking on anything. If you are in doubt, go directly to your bank’s website by manually typing the information in your browser. Never click on links you aren’t sure about.
  • Remember that shipping companies and banks will never send .ZIP attachments or ask for your password.
  • If you aren’t expecting to receive a link in an email, don’t click on it.
  • When browsing the internet, try to stick with Google search results that appear in the first two pages. If it’s on page 16, it’s probably not a legitimate site.
  • URLs should end in .com, .us, .edu, .org or .gov. If they don’t and you can’t verify the validity of a URL, don’t visit it.
  • Be very careful about popups on websites, especially those that want you to click, “I agree” or “OK.” Always use the red X in the upper right hand corner to close these pop-ups.
  • Never install software unless you know it’s from a safe, trusted source. Free software is one of the most common ways malware spreads.

Additionally, it’s important to always stay up-to-date with the latest news about malware and computer software, including systems that may affect internet routers. Like with the recent Russia malware router issue, the resolution to avoiding malware was as simple as turning the device on and then off again. Typically, the FBI will issue warnings about these types of malware programs, which will later be released by the news and telecom companies.