7 Safety Measures to Avoid Malware When Downloading Files on Your Laptop

By Ashutosh Jha → Last Updated on Friday, April 3, 2020
If you like downloading things but don't want to get a virus, look no further.

Downloading a virus is something that no one wants to experience for a host of reasons. Viruses can prevent you from using your computer the way you want and they put your personal information at risk.

how to prevent malware while downloading files
Most people download viruses from the internet, which can be avoided entirely by visiting only reputable sites. However, it can be tempting to download something you receive in the email that claims to be a promising program.

How to Prevent Malware While Downloading Files

Keep on reading to learn more about how to prevent malware when downloading files!

1. Install Anti-Virus/Malware Software

One of the first things you'll need to do when trying to prevent malware from infecting your computer is to install an anti-virus program. Anti-virus software is designed to protect your computer if a virus makes its way into your system.

You can install a virus on your computer in a variety of ways. The most common way is downloading one from the internet when you think you're downloading something else. If the software detects that you've downloaded a virus, it will give you a notification. It may also ask you to perform a scan on your system.

2. Keep the Software up to Date

After downloading anti-virus software, you must ensure that you keep it up to date. When software is updated, it implements new features to keep fighting current viruses. Old anti-virus software may not be capable of detecting modern viruses, which are constantly changing.

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Updating the software is as simple as checking the program whenever you open it. You'll also be reminded whenever an update is available. Depending on the software you get, it may update itself while it's running in the background.

3. Scan Your Computer with the Software

Anti-virus programs come with the ability to perform a scan on your computer that detects viruses. The problem that many people have with this is that they'll scan something harmless and say you have a virus. If it displays something you don't recognize, there's a good chance that it's a virus.

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After you've scanned your computer, you'll have the opportunity to delete the virus or reset your computer. Modern anti-virus programs are good at finding viruses, so resetting your computer should be a last resort.

4. Keep Your Operating System Updated

Similar to updating your anti-virus software, you must also keep your operating system updated. In most cases, your computer will update itself whenever it shuts off and an update is available. You'll get a notification when one is available, but you can't suspend the update until you turn the computer off.

Most operating systems have pre-installed anti-virus programs that will detect viruses and these will update whenever the OS is updated. For example, Windows has something called Windows Protection that has a variety of safety features.

5. Secure Your Network

Before downloading anything from the internet, you should make sure that your network is secure. If you have WiFi, you must place a password that's difficult for anyone to guess. When choosing encryption, go with either WPA or WPA2. WEP was a common one in the past, but many hackers have found workarounds.

Never share your network password with anyone unless they're guests that regularly visit your house. While it may seem harmless to pass it onto a friend, it's best to give them a password for a guest network. If someone's on your system that shouldn't be, you can change the password to automatically kick them off.

6. Use Your Judgment

Whenever you go to download a file, you can prevent malware by using your best judgment. In most cases, people download viruses when they're visiting a site that looks suspicious. Only download things from popular sources that have full links.

Don't be quick to click on a small link because hackers can use a URL shortener to send a risky site without you seeing the entire URL. You can see the site name by hovering over the link. If a site doesn't look professional or has something odd about it, avoid downloading anything from it.

Try to download things directly from their source. For example, you'd want to download Adobe Flash Player for Mac straight from Adobe's website.

7. Keep Personal Information Safe

Along with your WiFi password, you should keep all of your personal information safe. Whether it's the password to an account or your email address, no one should know anything about what you do on the internet. This may seem like a drastic approach, but a hacker can gain access to anything when they learn about one detail.

Whenever you'd like to download a file, try avoiding sites that want you to enter login credentials. Some sites may require you to create an account when downloading premium programs but only do this with reputable sites.

Creating an account on a shady site will allow hackers to use that same info on another site and access your account if it happens to have the same credentials.

Now You Know How to Prevent Malware

Malware prevention is all about being aware of what you're doing while browsing the web. It's not as if you'll run into a virus no matter which site you visit, but you can't afford to download something on the wrong website.

With this in mind, follow the steps within this guide to prevent getting any viruses. Understanding how to prevent malware is as simple as staying private and only downloading things from trustworthy sources.

Browse our articles if you'd like to learn more about tech-related things.
Ashutosh Jha

Ashutosh Jha is a professional blogger, Blog and IT Consultant. He writes about Blogging, SEO, Making Money, Internet Marketing and Web Design.
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