Make no mistake, there’s a lot of malicious stuff out there that can really mess up your computer. Fortunately, if you follow these simple tips, you can keep your computer safe from even the worst that the internet has to offer.

1. One of the easiest, and most important things you can do to protect your computer is make sure all your software is up-to-date. Be sure that your Operating System is updated, and also check for updates to the programs on your computer. Many of the software updates that are released are actually important security patches that will help to protect your computer.

2. While you’re updating all that software, it’s probably a good idea to remove vulnerable and outdated programs like Quicktime and Adobe Shockwave from your computer. These programs have long been known to be serious security risks that your computer is better off without. While you’re at it, you might as well uninstall Adobe’s Flash Player too.

3. Make sure that you have an antivirus installed. Not one of those crummy and practically useless “free” antiviruses either. Remember, when it comes to antivirus, you get exactly what you pay for.

4.  Don’t use Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge as your web browser. The default Windows browsers are well known for being the main targets of malicious software, and are easily exploited due to their weak security. A more secure and robust web browser, such as Google’s Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox will definitely help keep your computer clean.

5. Install an ad blocking extension or add on in your browser. Not only will you see far fewer ads, you’ll also avoid a lot of those fake tech support pop-ups that are becoming more and more common. We recommend using Ublock Origin.

6. Try to avoid “questionable” websites – adult content, gambling, hacking, etc. Those websites can be risky to browse, as they can often be infected with malicious code that can compromise the security of your computer.

7. Don’t fall for those fake support pop-up scams or telephone calls. These scams have been going on for a while now. Microsoft is not monitoring your computer for viruses. Their employees will never call you. Never give anyone that you don’t know and trust remote access to your computer.

8. Don’t click on links sent to you in an e-mail, at least not until you do a little investigation. Simply hover your mouse pointer over the link and see if the address shown in the bottom bar of your browser is that of a reputable website, and is directs to where the email claims it should. If anything doesn’t look right, it could be a malicious link, and you’re better off not clicking on it.

9. Speaking of email, be extra careful about downloading any attachments sent to you in email messages. Never download anything from anyone that you don’t know. Even if you do know the sender, don’t download any attachments that you aren’t expecting to receive. Those attachments could contain a computer virus.

Following these 9 easy tips will definitely help you keep your computer free of viruses and other malware.

If you have any questions, or need help setting up an antivirus, or anything else that we talked about in this article, give Cyber Express in Boardman a call. We’re always happy to help!