Is it possible for your PC to get infected with a virus or malware just from visiting a website? Well, it turns out that it is. It’s thought you can only get infected by viruses and malware if you download a spurious piece of software or open a scam email, but it isn’t the only way. Viruses and malware come in many forms. Even by visiting your favourite website you could potentially infect your PC. So, what should you look out for, and what can you do to stop it?
No one particularly likes a website full of adverts. But not only can adverts be an unwanted annoyance, some of them can be dangerous to your PC’s health. Recently scammers have been able to run adverts on major sites such as the New York Times. They’ve even hijacked the sponsored links on Google. These links looked as though they were taking you to major companies’ websites, but instead they installed malicious software on your PC. There’s no easy way to spot the fraudulent ads. Top companies spend a lot of money to make sure that their ads are safe. But as you can see from the examples above, some do slip through the net. So just be sure that you know what you’re clicking on when you click an ad.
Today, social media is important to not only one’s personal life but also business life too. More and more businesses are using social media for marketing, networking and recruiting. However, due to the number of people using social media it has become rife with viruses, malware and spyware. Shortened links are popular on Twitter and other social media platforms but these links can hide some malicious software. You can’t trust every link you see on social media, even one of your friends posted it. If it seems out of place or at all unusual for the person to be posting it, don’t trust it.
Protection and Removal
As well as the examples above, any links on website can hide potentially harmful software. Viruses and malware can be hiding through links to trusted websites, video or image downloads. Or there may be harmful software packaged up with other programs such as free anti-virus software. It seems that there’s nowhere safe online but there are some preventative measures you can take.
Make sure you download and install all Microsoft Windows security updates when they become available. And always update any software you regularly use as often as possible. These updates will contain the latest security fixes, and stop any currently known malicious software from infecting them.
It may seem like a pain to have different passwords for every site you need to log in to. But using the same password across many sites can leave you open to identity fraud and other criminal activity. Using long passwords, with various number, letter and special character combinations is best. You don’t even need to remember them all with password management software such as 1Password or LastPass. These programs let you set one master password and the software takes care of the rest.
Always use antivirus and security software. Windows Defender is a good start but you should also run a good antivirus software. You need to regularly scan your system for malware, spyware and viruses and make sure that you install all updates for the security software.
At the end of the day, no amount of security software or software updates are going to protect you fully. It’s down to the end user to protect themselves from all the potential threats out there. Trust no website or links fully, even if they’re sent by your friends. The health of your PC is a risk but even more important, your own security may be compromised if you don’t take precautions.