Best Practices to Protect yourself from Malware and Viruses

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If you get a strange pop up message, something like “You’re infected” or “We’ve Found vulnerabilities on your computer” call (800) XXX-XXXX or click here to fix it, these messages are 99% of the time fake and most of the time, malware/spyware/viruses themselves.  They need to be removed from your computer.  If you see one of these messages, please take a picture of it (if possible) and email or text it to support@GetEasyComputerHelp.com or (954) 465-3580.  DO NOT CLICK THE X TO CLOSE IT.  People say to me, I got a pop up but clicked the x in 1 second.  I say, then you got infected in 1 second.  Many times the “bad guys” hide the “download” or “install” in the x to close a window knowing that your instinct is to immediately close the “offending window.”  Really your best scenario is to NOT CLICK the window at all, and shutdown the computer completely.  Turn the computer back on and see if you get the infection message again.  If not, great.  If you do get it again, then you need additional help.  Contact GetEasyComputer.com or your location Information Technology Professional. 

Install Malwarebytes, so you can stop attacks as soon as they happen, or before.  Install an antivirus program like Avast, McAfee, Microsoft Security Essentials, or ESET to clean and protect your computer.

Do not use open Wi-Fi; it’s unsafe and too easy to steal your information. Secure your home and/or office Wi-Fi.  When traveling, use your own hotspot if possible, rather than free shared public Internet.  It’s MUCH safer.

Password protect all of your devices, including your desktop, laptop, phone, smartwatch, tablet, lawnmower…you get the idea.

Create difficult passwords and change them frequently. In addition, never use the same passwords across multiple services. If that’s as painful as a stake to a vampire’s heart, use a password manager like LastPass, SplashID, B-Folders, etc.
 
For extra hacker protectant, ask about two-step authentication. Several services have only recently started to offer two-factor authentication, and they require the user to initiate the process. Trust me, the extra friction is worth it. Two-factor authentication makes taking over an account that much more difficult, and on the flip side, much easier to reclaim should your Gmail account (for example) get hijacked happen.

Come up with creative answers for your security questions.  Consider answering like a crazy person. If Bank of America asks, “What was the name of your first boyfriend/girlfriend?” reply “Insert Crazy Answer Here.” Just don’t forget to track/record how you answered these questions.

Practice smart surfing and emailing. Phishing campaigns still exist, but hackers have become much cleverer than “Nigerian prince who needs your money”. Hover over links to see the actual email address from which the email was sent. Is it really from the person or company claiming to send them? If you’re not sure, pay attention to awkward sentence construction and formatting. If something still seems fishy, do a quick search on the Internet for the subject line. Others may have been scammed and posted about it online.

Honorable mention: Alarmist webpages announcing that there are “critical errors” on your computer are lies. Microsoft, your bank, credit card company, eBay, PayPal, Amazon will NEVER contact you in person to “Fix Account Problems”. These messages come only from scammers! 

Also, if you are contacted by a company saying “We’re Microsoft/Dell/HP/Comcast/AT&T and we see you’re having a problem with your computer.  We will, for $39 remotely connect into your computer and fix it” THIS IS A SCAM!  They will steal your information and your money!!!

 
Sources:
www.GetEasyComputerHelp.com
https://www.malwarebytes.org/articles/10-ways-to-protect-against-hackers