How to Protect Windows 10 against Malware

Read this article to know how to protect your Windows 10 computer from Malware. Know the simple steps that you need to take to safeguard your computer from malware and which tools can assist you in doing the same.

In 2020, computers and mobile gadgets are a huge part of our day-to-day routine. We can't imagine our lives without them. PCs and Smartphones help us do our jobs, enjoy a movie/video game, and keep up with the latest news. Plus, we store personal and sensitive corporate data on our gadgets, making them potential targets for malware. Also known as "malicious software," cybercriminals use it to infect user devices and steal data.

So, what can you do to protect yourself from hackers? Most users/businesses believe that antivirus solutions can keep them safe. Kaspersky, TotalAV, and Bitdefender are some of the most popular picks. However, even though the Total AV reviews by Harry Brown claim it provides all-around security for Win10, you can always add to it with your caution. There are some simple yet effective steps that you can take to improve Win10's security. Take a look!

Protection Starts With Simple Steps

This is simple, really: the more up-to-date the system and the software that you're running are, the better. The "tech guys" at Microsoft are always working on improving Win10 and making it secure against emerging threats. Cybercriminals are still finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in the OS, so it's crucial to have the latest edition of the system.

By default, Win10 automatically detects, downloads, and installs all the newest updates. If you want to check it manually, here's what you should do:
  • Go to Settings – Update and Security
  • Hit the Windows Update menu and select "Check for updates"
That's it! And a quick note: if you're still running Win7, you can switch to the latest edition of Windows 10 for free.

As for the software, the apps you get from the official Microsoft Store also automatically download all the fixes/enhancements. However, third-party software might not follow the same routine. We recommend checking for new updates on the official websites at least once a month.

Enable the built-in firewall and anti-ransomware module

Did you know that Windows10 has quite a powerful built-in firewall? That's right, and it will protect you from network flaws/vulnerabilities. Again, by default, the firewall is up and running. You can still go to the Win Defender Security Center and ensure that every option is checked.

This is important: even though malware is still the most common and dangerous threat, in 2020, ransomware is the next big thing. Once planted on the system, it encrypts all the essential/sensitive data and prevents you from accessing it. Next, it demands a ransom for the decryption key. In Windows10, there's an anti-ransomware module that's called CFA (Controlled Folder Access). It's optional, meaning some Win10 editions don't have it enabled by default.

Only download/install trusted apps

According to the experts, this is the most common mistake among Internet users these days. They don't fully realize how dangerous it is to install apps from suspicious websites. Even the best antivirus tool or VPN won't be able to protect you if you deliberately download a malicious app. Therefore, ONLY install software from sources you can fully trust. Official websites of known brands are an excellent place to start.

As we already mentioned, the Microsoft Store is 100% safe. So are the official sites of software/hardware developers. For the latest video card drivers, go to Nvidia's or AMD's website. The same is true for your mouse, keyboard, gamepad, headset, and other gadgets (only trust legit sites).

Create backups – both offline and online

The best thing about backups – no matter how many viruses take over your OS/device, you'll retain full control over your files or corporate data. For example, you won't have to pay a cent to ransomware, simply because you'll always have access to the files, folders, and apps that it encrypts. There are two types of backups available right now, and you should take full advantage of both.

For an offline backup to work, you'll need an external storage device. Some users prefer to go with flash drives, but, statistically, hard drives are more reliable. Just copy everything that you need to these external devices, and keep them somewhere safe. Decent-quality USB and hard drives can last for decades. It may also be a good idea to keep backups of the system so that you can go back to it in a short amount of time.

And make sure that the drive isn't in any way connected to the Internet. There's a reason why it's called an offline backup. That way, no malicious code will be able to find its way there. Three hard/flash drives should be enough. Remember: there's no such thing as too many backups!

And what about online backups – what are they all about? Yes, we're talking about cloud storage. In 2020, it's not at all expensive and is available to pretty much every Windows 10 user. The price varies, of course, depending on how secure the online storage is. But, even the most secure options won't cost you much.

Microsoft's OneDrive is a considerable choice. However, there's one significant con: it tends to sync files in the cloud with the system, making it possible for the infection to spread to the cloud. To be truly safe, consider a paid service. Google Drive and Amazon Drive are the leaders of the market right now. They are trusted by the biggest tech brands around the world.

The good news is – they both provide 10GB of free storage to any registered user. And while this will not be enough for a serious project, ten gigabytes might be exactly what you need for something smaller.

Be Vigilant!

At the end of the day, human error is the biggest threat of all. If you follow all the guidelines that we discussed, it will be much harder for the hackers to harm you and your data. Just don't click on suspicious links, never open any email attachments without scanning them first, and only download software and updates from legit websites.

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