Install antivirus software and set to auto update itself and to run regular scans. That is your starting point but you must remember that anti virus software can’t stop you, or someone using your computer, from doing something that infects the computer. This is why most viruses/malware attempt to trick you into voluntarily installing them by masquerading as legitimate software.
Think of your antivirus like a seat belt. Your seat belt can protect you from serious injury if someone else hits your car but it can’t stop you from running a red light or driving too fast for conditions.
There are a few simple steps you can follow to decrease your chances of infecting your computer.
1. Do not run as Administrator for day to day computer use. Create a second account as a Standard User and use that account for day to day stuff. Create an account for your child and turn on Parental Controls. Do NOT give your children the admin password.
2. Use a more secure browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
3. Keep Windows up to date.
4. Don’t click links in emails, messages, Facebook or advertising. If you want to visit a website, type in the web address yourself!
5. Don’t try to download pirated software, music, movies.
6. Don’t run software updates that pop up in your browser, such as Adobe Flash. If you think Flash is out of date, go to the Adobe website and check yourself.
7. When installing free software such as Java or Adobe Flash, pay attention to the software add ons that are packaged with it and opt out of installing this garbage.
8. If someone calls you about your computer, hang up on them or tell them you don’t own a computer. The exception would be if the call is from someone you contacted first.
*Microsoft will NEVER call you unsolicited.
*Allow remote access to your computer ONLY to people you TRUST.
*The FBI/CIA/IRS or other government agency will not hold your computer hostage while you run to Walmart for a Green Dot card.
*You did not win the lottery, or a contest, or a car.
*Your family member or friend is not being held in prison somewhere abroad until you wire money. Hang up and call the person before you assume this is true.
*Geek Squad is not your friend