With all the hacks, phishing and scam emails doing the rounds still, we thought we’d bring you a short piece on how you can stay safe online.  Across 4 blog posts we will cover the need for Anti Virus and Malware software, choosing a password and spotting a spoof.

So let’s start with the most basic principle, having a decent Anti Virus program installed and running on your computer.  An Anti Virus program protects your computer/mobile device from most of the ‘nasties’ doing the rounds of the internet.

The very fact that your device connects to the internet means it is vulnerable (and, yes, a Mac got a virus once).  Although Apple deal with virus threats quickly and efficiently everyone else should be running Anti Virus software.

You can choose from well known brands like Norton, Kaspersky  or McAfee or from free Anti Virus software like AVG, Avast or Avira (which in my opinion knocks the socks off the others).  But you should make sure it is installed and running.

If you are suspicious of anything untoward happening on your device then you should run a full scan of your computer/mobile/tablet.  It’s possible your computer has been compromised if you inadvertently clicked on a link in a  scamming/phishing email.  It is always better to be safe and run a full virus scan.  If you have the option to run a Boot Scan (a deep scan before the computer is fully awake) then you should do this as soon as practical – it normally takes a few hours but will find any little nasties that may be trying to hide. You may want to run this one overnight.

Hand in hand with Anti Virus software goes anti Malware.  Malware accounts for all the other unwanted bits and bobs that end up on your computer like browser hijacking ( for example those pesky adverts that keep popping up when you are online).  So if you are seeing unusual behaviour from your computer then you should run a Malware checker like the free Malwarebytes.

It is advisable to run Malwarebytes on a regular basis – these pesky malware programs can get onto your computer through innocent surfing of the web.  I’d recommend running it at least once per month as part of you housekeeping.

We would also recommend a good Firewall to protect your computer from unauthorised access.  This simple piece of software manages what comes into your computer and what goes out – it’s a bit like having your very own Doorman.  You choose what has access to your computer from the internet – Microsoft Windows 10 comes with a built in Firewall but you may find you get one with from your Internet provider too.

So there you go. That was a quick intro to Anti Virus protection on your computer/mobile devices. Next time we will talk about password security.