Virus protection. How to defend your computer.

Today we’ll talk about virus protection and measures that must be performed to ensure it. The virus can sneak onto your computer in different ways, and we will tell you about each of them. There are many types of viruses, each of which prefers its own penetration methods, but these viruses are just automated programs that choose a target and act on the basis of their inherent algorithms. This means that they are the simple programs, freely available, and waiting until unsuspecting users will enable them to seize their computers. We want you to mention that our guide doesn’t contain any advices or measures against aimed hacker attacks. If you will become the target of hackers, who intend to run a virus on your computer, they will do it anyway, and you can prevent it only if you are an experienced hacker, or a specialist in computer security. We won’t talk about the virus species, instead of this, we will tell about the most common methods of infection.

Infection via e-mail

E-mail has experienced the peak of its popularity a means of communication years ago, and is now mainly used for registering on various resources, and for work. However, the viruses still very often penetrate users' computers via attachments in e-mail. This way of penetration most often is used by viruses from "ransomware" category. Sending an e-mail is the most secure and profitable method for hackers, since email account can be created in a few seconds, and is absolutely free. You can specify any data out there, and you have no way to track the mailbox’s owner, if he adheres to the basic rules of Internet security. The danger is not the letter itself, but the file, attached to it. The letters are written in special way, to force the user to open the application: a COD message (click the attachment to see the details), notification of a prize in any kind of lottery (print the form, located in the attachment and come for your prize), and so on.

To protect yourself from such attack, you should do two things: separate your mailboxes on personal and work ones, and use the "sandbox." Each of your e-mails must have its own purpose. If you use email at work, and you often receive emails with attachments – create the separate account for it. Also it is necessary to have a separate account for personal messages and one - for registrations on forums, websites, social networks and other resources. So you can be sure that if you receive a letter with an attachment on a personal account or an account for registration - it is most likely a virus. If you still intend to open a letter, you should do it with help of sandbox program. Such programs are available either separately or as part of some anti-virus. The essence of the program is simple: you run the files, without giving them access to your system. Within this "sandbox" the virus can not harm you, and you can remove it at any time.

Bundled installation

Very often, users complain that they installed a program, and with it got a browser, anti-virus, media player, and image editor. None of these programs work, the computer started to behave strangely, an advertisement appeared in the browser... All these are symptoms of infection by "adware" or "hijackers". Such programs are considered relatively safe, as do some (totally useless) features, and do not cause direct damage to the user's computer or files. However, the presence of such programs on the computer slows it down, reduces productivity and weakens the protection, allowing other viruses to infiltrate the system. Such programs are the cause of hideous state of the computers belonging to inexperienced users.

To protect yourself from this type of threat, the user must comply with one strict rule, or two less stringent. The strict rule of thumb is to only use the official sites, and download only the licensed content. You do not get adware, downloading the game from Steam, or downloading a paid program with its official website. However, not all users are willing to completely abandon the pirated content. If you are such a person, then we have two other rules for you.

  1. Do not download loaders. If you want to download a movie, a game or program, you must be sure what exactly you are downloading. If you are offered to download the .exe file, which cannot be opened without installing - it is most likely a virus.
  2. Always read everything that is written on the windows that appear when you install the program. During the installation, in addition to “select the directory” and the license agreement, appears a list of programs that you are agreeing to install, in addition to the desired program. This window appears in the majority of cases, and that is the starting point of massive wave of trash programs, which will overwhelm the system. Always keep an eye on each window, remove the confirmations and cancel the consent for the installation of foreign software.

Direct download

Direct installation by the user is another extremely effective way of infiltration. When using other methods, the virus tries to hide its installation or disguise it. In this case, it conceals the fact of its belonging to the viruses. Description of the program is made so that the user is interested in it, and downloads the product. Scammers leave some positive feedback on the program, and it immediately became more or less popular. This method is used "adware", "hijackers", the fake anti-virus software and browsers.

To help prevent infection by this method, you need to remember a few rules. Firstly, worthy firms that develop decent software do not conduct aggressive advertising policy. If you open a new tab in the browser and see a huge banner with an offer to download super-new software, which is a hundred times better than all the others - it is, at best, a fake, and at worst - a virus. Secondly, none of the licensed programs will ask the user to turn off the anti-virus. Often, the user receives a message directly to the desktop, where he is asked to turn off the anti-virus to upgrade it or download the new version. In any case you shouldn’t turn off the anti-virus and download the proposed program. And finally, the third one: you should remember a few functions which viruses most commonly use to pretend to be useful programs.

  1. Search for something on the Internet. This can be anything: new games, movies and music, bargains, sales and discounts, driver updates or new programs. If the program offers any of these features - it is malware.
  2. Perform any functions in social networks. The big social networks have long been a means of income for millions of users, and the administration has a strict policy regarding suspicious activity on accounts. If the program offers you to track the activity of your friends on the social networks, to increase the number of views of your profile, or anything else of this sort, then this program will not able to perform it, or will comply with the conditions, but you will find yourself in a precarious users list and your account may be suspended.
  3. Improved search. Finding information on the Internet is based on the work of well-known search engines, which check the websites and provide you the most relevant and respectable ones. No program can do a Google search better than it is. Most often, this description is used by fake browsers or "hijackers", using Google Chrome open code.

Infection through malicious websites

When we say “Malicious web sites” – we mean any websites that distribute viruses or unwanted software. It’s not even necessarily to download something from such site. On some sites, the file download button is hidden or disguised as a navigation button of a site, the search button, or anything else. In fact, there is a risk to get a virus even if you just open such site. Methods of download can be very different, and sometimes it is very difficult to prevent the load while you already are on the site. In this regard, we suggest you do not visit such websites, and we can help you to recognize them. Here are the basic groups of insecure and malicious sites, as well as their attributes.

  1. Sites with content "for adults" are considered to be harmful by default. 99% of these sites are illegal because the spread of pornography and prostitution are prohibited almost in every country, with a rare exceptions. Such sites are always under the threat of closure and their owners consider the spread of viruses as another opportunity to earn a little money, which does not increase the risk.
  2. Sites that distribute free software and media content. There are many sites on the Internet that offer free versions of paid programs, free movies and music. The vast majority of these sites is harmful, and only some of them provide a proven and high-quality content. If you are not sure in 100% reliability of the website, it is better not to visit it.
  3. Sites that distribute software that is described in the section "Direct download" considered harmful by default.
  4. On-line casinos, as well as pornographic sites belong to the untrusted category. Most often they distribute adware, which lives on your computer and every few minutes urges him to visit the site.
  5. Sites where the spam links lead. "Celebrity was shocked when...", "I lost 50 lbs in two days, because eating two teaspoons of ...", "I’ve enlarged my penis on two inches per week with the help of ...", and other similar tags are the links to untrusted sites. In most cases, if the user begins to click on such links, he will never know how to enlarge the penis, because these links are endless. You can spend hours to move from site to site, without finding the desired information. The only things that you’ll definitely get from there are the viruses.

In this article, we presented all the main methods that viruses use to penetrate your computer. Each point of this article is not an immutable rule – it is an advice to help you to avoid the virus. If you have some experience, you can ignore few of these tips, but we strongly advise you not to do it. Be careful on the Internet, do not trust the fraudsters, keep your anti-virus turned on, and then your computer's protection will be unbreakable.

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