Nowadays, protecting ourselves from Cyber Threats has become a rather complex theme, mostly because of all the misinformation and misguidance that exists on the web. But on this article we’ll keep it simple, I’ll give you the most basic steps that you’ll need to take in order to protect yourself from internet threats.
As mentioned in the title, you’ll have to pay attention to 6 things.
- Common Sense
- Updating And Patching
- Built-in Firewall
- Antivirus Software
- Anti-Malware Software
- Specialized Security Software
When browsing the internet, you’d better be careful. Use your brain, if you’re not paying attention to what you’re clicking then you could have all the security in the world and it would still be useless. An experienced person might not even need security software to protect himself, in most cases you should be able to tell the difference between a malicious program and a legitimate one, the same goes for websites.
If you’re going to click on ads like “Russian woman waitin fo ya” and “Many people are canceling their Netflix accounts for this (shows half-naked woman)” then you might as well burn your PC, it’s more likely to survive that way. Well, Perhaps I got a bit overboard there but you get the point.
In this case, along with Common sense, you will also need best adware removal tools.
In overall, proceed with extreme caution. Especially when you’re visiting websites with illegal content or ones that you don’t trust, I know that this might seem like a drag at the beginning, but once you’ll get used to it you won’t have to even think about avoiding suspicious links, emails, malicious software, and ads.
2. Updating and Patching
Always keep your system updated, many people are complaining about Windows 10 because unlike Windows 7 it forces you to install the available updates as soon as possible. But like it or not, this is the best way to protect yourself. No matter what you do, it’s not worth postponing it for 10 minutes or so to install security updates.
That doesn’t only go for Windows updates, it also applies to all of the applications that you have installed. Any application could prove to be a security hole for a hacker, Java and Adobe Flash Player are two good examples. Those are applications are widely used from all other the world, which is precisely why they attract the attention of hackers. They have been able to find security holes in these programs and they managed to infect a lot of people with their viruses through them, if it happened once, it could also happen twice.
In overall, keep your PC updated so that hackers will not be able to take advantage of security holes that they find. This is one of the main reasons that developers frequently push updates to you, they are actively discovering security holes and they’re trying to cover them up before a hacker can take advantage of them.
3. Built-in Firewall
Microsoft has a pre-installed Firewall on their Operating Systems since Windows XP SP2, your Firewall is supposed to limit connections from inside your PC and outside from it. For example, if you install a pirated game your Firewall will prevent it from accessing the internet until you give it permission to do otherwise. If someone is trying to get remote access to your PC and your Firewall does not recognize him, it should prevent him from getting control over you.
But for a Firewall to work correctly, you must also set it up correctly. Which is a rather easy task, the pre-installed Windows Firewall has two main functions, the Home (private) one, and the Public one, there is also the Domain one but it’s not something that we should focus on now.
So when you connect to a new network, Windows will ask you what profile you want to apply to it, if you’re in your home you can set the profile to Home, on that profile people who are connected to the same network should be able to see your PC on that network and if you make it so they should also be able to access your files, but non-trusted applications will not be able to access the internet unless you say otherwise.
The Public profile will hide your PC from users that are connected to the same network and will restrict connections as much as possible, it is recommended to use that profile when you’re connected to a Café shop or something.
In overall, all you have to do on your part is to pick the correct profile when connecting to a network; Windows Firewall will take care of the rest.
4. Antivirus Software
An Antivirus is supposed to protect you from old school viruses and malicious programs, some Antivirus programs offer additional features such as Ransomware protection, banking protection etc.
Windows 10 has its own Antivirus which is called Windows Defender but is it good enough? If you know your stuff then it should be more than enough to protect you as it scored a 95% accuracy of detecting and removing viruses. But if you were an expert you wouldn’t be reading this article would you? In either case, if you’re not an experienced user, or you’re one but you’re still worried about that 5% chance, then you should install another Antivirus. The top Antivirus programs have scored a 100% accuracy in detecting and removing viruses so they are clearly a better choice for your average person.
I’ve seen countless people saying that they found the best Antivirus, from my perspective, the best Antivirus does not exist. That is because we all have different needs, and we’re all willing to spend different amounts of money on protecting ourselves, some of us don’t want to spend anything at all too which is acceptable.
So how can you pick one? In overall, you’ll have to
- Think about what kind of protection you need.
- Think about how much money you’re willing to spend on your Antivirus or if you want to spend anything at all.
- Make your research, balance things out, and decide what you want to get.
If you’re not sure on what you need and how much you want to spend on your Antivirus, then chances are that you’re not an experienced user and that you’ll have to look at premium options that will protect you from mistakes which you’d make in the near future.
5. Anti-Malware Software
Anti-Malware programs will focus on detecting and removing newer kinds of malware, and those that are kind of smarter compared to your old school viruses. An Anti-Malware can run alongside your Antivirus program without causing any interference or slowdowns, just don’t let them scan for threats at the same time and you should be fine.
But do not use two Antivirus programs or two Anti-Malware ones at the same time, this could prove to be problematic. Unlike Antivirus programs, Anti-Malware ones have more or less the same features and will focus on the same kinds of threats, so picking an Anti-Malware should not be as hard and complex as picking an Antivirus.
Once again, I wouldn’t like to use the term “best” for an Anti-Malware, because you can never know which one is really the most secure. I think that the one which has the best price to performance ratio would be MalwareFox, as mentioned before, when looking at picking an Anti-Malware you won’t have to worry about features and such because more or less they promise to offer the same things.
All you have to look at is how much they cost, how lightweight they are, and how effective they are. MalwareFox was the cheapest Anti-Malware that I found, one of the most lightweight ones that I ever tested, and despite being relatively new to the market it has numerous positive reviews so we can safely assume that it is effective. This is why I’m recommending this one.
6. Specialized Software
Antivirus and Anti-Malware programs offer protection from a huge variety of threats, they have to focus on numerous categories which is why they tend to miss a virus or two that is on rare occasions of course. To cover that gap, specialized security programs have been created.
Is there a kind of malware that you’re particularly worried about? Like Ransomware, Adware, Spyware, or anything? If you’re worried about a very specific kind of malware which you think that has higher chances of infecting you, or you simply want to reduce the chances. Then you could install an Anti-Ransomware, an Adware removal, an Anti-Spyware, and the list goes on.
You still need to have your Antivirus and your Anti-Malware installed, these applications are an additional help to you and are not meant to be completely relied on.