How do you stay secure after being infected by malware? So you think you have malware. Now what? Well, depending on your device, different devices can be targeted by different viruses or worms and will have different tools to help out. Once your device is cleaned and deal with the aftermath, you should examine how you got infected in the first place. Here are some steps to help keep your devices secure from malware:

1. Get anti-malware/anti-virus software: One of the most comprehensive defenses against any malicious code is a piece of reputable security software. As always, premium tools are the way to go. The best software packages are backed by dedicated teams of developers who monitor the latest threats and respond to them with updates as quickly as possible. The right tool will scan any files you download or app you want to install for harmful functions and warn you before you continue. You can also run periodic scans to make sure nothing made it past their initial filters.

2. Become a vigilant Internet user: Learn to recognize the symptoms of malware and the shady places online that distribute it. Don’t ever click on any pop-ups, and if they have fake “X” icons to close them, make sure you click on the real one. Mouse-over or right-click on links before clicking on them to see where they take you. Always keep an eye on your URL when you browse, because even legitimate websites can get hacked. The hackers can then redirect users to a URL that looks similar but isn’t, and where visitors are far from secure. Some malware injects ads and hyperlinks into website text, but these will often look different from the links and ads you’re used to seeing. If you can notice the differences, you’ll learn to tell whether you’re looking at a shady website or something more malicious.

3. Secure your online traffic: VPNs are more than just powerful privacy tools. The encryption a VPN provides will close off numerous avenues of infiltration for potential hackers and their malware.

4. Back up your files: Strictly speaking, performing frequent backups of your files may not actually prevent you from getting malware, but it will make attacks much easier and less damaging to deal with. Device resets are a nearly guaranteed way to wipe out most malware, but they’re very hard to do if every wipe means losing important files. With frequent, secure backups, that won’t be a problem.

5. Do your homework: Before downloading an app, read some reviews online, and be sure to find at least one negative one as well. What do they say? Are users complaining about features or performance, or are there more serious issues at play? Has anyone accused the app of being malware? You should also read about the most serious vulnerabilities facing your device or operating system. If you know them, you can avoid them.

6. Keep your software up to date: The next time a trusted app or even your OS asks you to confirm an update, don’t be so quick to cancel or delay it. In addition to providing feature and performance improvements, updates usually patch up security vulnerabilities that developers have found in their software. These can be pre-emptive fixes or responses to a quickly spreading global bug, but in either case, you’ll want to update your software as soon as the update is available.

7. Change your passwords and keep them secure: Learn how to craft a secure password that you’ll remember. When you discover malware on your device and eliminate, one of the first things you’ll want to do is change your passwords. Even if the malware is gone, the hacker who spread it might still have your password, but it’ll be useless as soon as you change it.

8. Learn your devices inside and out: Whether it’s a smartphone or a PC, your device has plenty of built-in settings that can go a long way to make it more or less secure. Browse your settings and find out how they can change your security environment. Both Android and iOS smartphones can restrict apps from outside their curated app stores, make sure that these restrictions are turned on. Windows 10 PCs come with a fairly powerful built-in firewall and scanner. Make sure these are on and running at their most powerful setting.

If you have any questions or suspect you have been hit by malware, contact BrickHost today to help fix and prevent any further threats.