I’m known around my hood as someone who can remove any type of malware from any system.
People always ask me for help and even pay me decent cash to remove Trojans, keyloggers and scareware from their machines or network.
Often times the same people ask me for help.
Often times, they end up with the same type of virus/malware.
Usually its’ the “scareware” type; software that’s designed to limit the functionality of your Operating System and hold it hostage until some type of action is taken.
The most brilliant types are also retroviruses in that they totally nullify any existing anti-virus application.
I’ve seen some scareware so odious that it requests money to “unlock” the system.
The notion of having your machine, information and identity jeopardized by an odious hacker is frightening, so I’ve compiled an easy list to keep the majority of users safe and clean.
The Funny Thing About Keeping Your System Safe
The funny thing about keeping ANY Operating System clean, is that it’s very easy and only requires common sense.
Here’s a few determinate variables that can prevent your machine from being compromised.
- Avoid Pirated Content – The most frequent method I’ve personally observed people getting their machines infected is through the process of downloading pirated content. File sharing mechanisms like peer to peer, torrents or Warez sites share files infested with up to date Trojans and malware. If you want free music, stick to free (and clean) websites such as Youtube, don’t risk downloading software apps or games from an unknown source because pirated file sharing is the primary method of botnet infestation, keylogger spreading and a host of other threat vectors.
- Scan Frequently – It goes without saying that you should scan frequently. I conduct memory scans daily and also a full system scan at least 3 times per week using alternating anti virus applications. For a thorough list of which scanners I recommend check out my resources page.
- Maintain Patches – It’s imperative to keep your Operating System and software you use up to date. Updates can be configured to automatically download and install which is something I recommend. Also, if you have a WordPress blog or maintain any type of server / website, make sure your content management system remains up to date and patched, and also any plugins that may be running.
- If you Don’t Use it – Lose it – The “if you don’t use it lose it” mentality is a basic principle of IT security that spans accross the entire spectrum of technology use. Meaning, it applies to everything. If you’re not using a particular WiFi broadcast mode, (802.11g vs. 80211b for example) then disable it. If you have a massive software suite installed but you’re not using it, disable it. If you have a networking addon for your server but aren’t using it, disable it. If you’re not using bluetooth or WiFi on your smart phone, then disable it. The less cards you have in your hand, the less opportunity for someone to guess which cards you have, right?
Keeping your Operating System is actually quite easy.
Just remember to avoid pirated content, harden your web browser, and live a minimalist lifestyle and your information security will be protected as a result.
Also remember; a small, light, organized system is much easier to maintain. (I’ve cleaned one too many bogged down, slower than hell, out of date, 9 CPU generations back systems and they’re much harder to clean than a fast, up to date, agile machine). A fitting metaphor; what’s easier to clean and maintain; A neatly trimmed dog, or a mangy mutt? Food for thought.