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Stopping Computer Viruses in Their Tracks

Despite the countless advances that have been made in the field of cyber security, computer viruses continue to present a persistent threat. While some viruses are fairly easy to get rid of, others stand to turn your entire world upside down.

For example, if your computer becomes infected with ransomware, you may find your most valuable data held hostage by cybercriminals. When it comes to stamping out viruses, preventative measures are preferable to combating the issue post-infection, and anyone looking to stop computer viruses in their tracks should consider the following pointers.

Install System and Software Updates Immediately 

There are numerous benefits to installing operating system and software updates in an expedient fashion. For example, many updates and patches are created to fix assorted bugs and performance issues, so the sooner you install them, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy an operating system that runs at peak efficiency.

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Installing system updates as soon as they become available is also conducive to enhanced security. Since updates are often created to combat newly-emerged viruses and patch cybersecurity vulnerabilities, installing them posthaste can be a tremendous boon to your online safety. 

It’s easy to see why so many of us regularly place operating system updates and software patches on the backburner. After all, installing them immediately often entails pausing whatever we’re doing on our computers until such time as the updates have been downloaded and installed. And depending on the size and scope of the update, you may be waiting quite a while.

There’s no denying that having to install updates when you’re right in the middle of something can be inconvenient, it’s a relatively annoyance compared to dealing with active viruses and other cyberthreats. So, the next time you’re presented with a notification for a system or software update, you’d do well to begin the installation process on the double.  

Install First-Rate Antivirus Software 

Although modern operating systems come with a fair number of onboard security features, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t invest in dedicated antivirus software. While there’s no denying that modern operating systems are a lot more security-savvy than the operating systems of old, dependable antivirus software still plays an important role in keeping viruses and various other cyberthreats at bay. So, if your computer currently has nothing in the way of dedicated antivirus software, get on top of this immediately. 

In the interest of maximum protection, take care to invest in PC security software from a well-known developer with a solid track record on the antivirus front. Additionally, as is the case with your operating system, make sure to install updates for your dedicated antivirus software the instant they become available.     

Put the Brakes on Unsafe Browsing Habits 

A single visit to an unsafe website can land your computer with a virus. As such, it’s in your best interest to curb any unsafe browsing habits before they result in virus or malware infection. So, if a website prompts a security warning from your browser or antivirus software, you’d do well to avoid taking the risk. 

Furthermore, sites that lack secure socket layer (SSL) encryption should always be approached with extreme caution. If nothing else, you should avoid entering any passwords, credit card numbers or other personal information in a site that’s bereft of SSL. If you’re unclear on whether a site is protected by SSL encryption, have a look at the URL and confirm that it begins with “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP.” 

For added protection against virus-laden websites, abstain from clicking on any links sent to you by unfamiliar parties via email or through social media. Even links from people you trust should be approached with caution if anything about the message in which they’re contained seems off.

These days, it seems like computer viruses don’t receive a great deal of media attention. Coupled with the many advances made in the field of cybersecurity, this has resulted in many of us dropping our guard against viruses and various other cyberthreats. However, while computer viruses may not command the same level of public awareness they once did, assuming they’ve simply gone away is pure folly. Viruses still present a clear threat to all Internet-enabled devices, and with the help of the pointers outlined above, you’ll be able to preemptively stamp them out.