The single biggest factor in preventing a malware infection on your PC is you. However, you don’t need expert knowledge or special training, just vigilance to avoid downloading and installing anything you don’t understand or trust, regardless of how tempting it is, from the following sources:
- From a website: If unsure of the software you’re asked to install, leave the site and check with your company’s IT experts. If it’s ok, you can come back to the site later or they can send you a link. Avoid running programs that were downloaded from an untrustworthy source or haven’t been scanned and verified by your antivirus tool. Use common sense while online. Just because the website says it’s true, doesn’t make it so. And if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is a scam to get you to click on a link that can download malware to access your PC. This includes pop-ups saying you’ve won a prize or ask you to fill out a survey for a promotional give-away, which provides cyber criminals with your personal information. And by the way, DON’T close the pop-up using their “X” – it can be a false close. Go to your Windows Task Manager (Ctrl-Alt-Delete) and do it from there.
- From email: Don’t trust ANYTHING associated with a spam email, and approach with caution any odd or non-specific messages, even from people you know, if there are links or attachments – they might be unknowingly sending you malware.
- From physical media: Family and friends might unknowingly pass along infected files on a disc or flash/USB drive so use caution and scan all items before opening or downloading them to your PC.
- From another piece of software: When installing software, pay close attention to the message boxes before clicking Next, OK or I Agree. Scan the user agreement for anything that suggests malware may be a part of the installation. If unsure, cancel the install, check up on the program and come back to it later.
- From illegal file-sharing services: You should not access or download ANYTHING from these sites and services, which in addition to being illegal are unregulated and often includes damaging malware. It is against most company policies and creates an unacceptable risk to your devices and to your company.
Check with your manager if you have any concerns or questions regarding keeping your company, your data and your technology safe.