Cybersecurity and You 3: Vulnerable/Updated and Malware/Spyware

Part three of this series will explore how our computers can be vulnerable. Like any other machine, a computer requires regular maintenance to perform its best. While we will not be exploring physical computer components today, we will be discussing some basic software maintenance and care, including how to keep your software up to date as well as basic protection against viruses and malware.

1: Updating Your Software and Computer

No software is perfect. Flaws and loopholes allowing attacks are frequently discovered and closed via software updates. Frequently updating your software and your operating system will help keep you safer and your system running more efficiently.

The easiest way to do this is to have a program do it for you. Secunia is a standalone software inspector that will allow you to update your software with ease.  Two programs mentioned in our second section, Avast and Avira, also come with a bundled software checker.  If you are on MacOS, your system should update automatically, but if you are a Windows user make sure to check for updates periodically or enable automatic updates in your settings.

2: Detecting Malware, Viruses, and Spyware

Sometimes being careful and having a firewall is not enough to avoid infection by viruses and malware. Like a cold, your computer’s infection could come with symptoms like suddenly sluggish performance, unexpected errors, crashes, and other problems. Luckily, we can take a few steps to prevent and solve a majority of infections. First, go read our previous post on Better Browsing Practices for a refresher on staying safer on-line.   Second, you should have a reputable anti-virus or anti-malware program. If you feel you need a more robust program than Windows Defender, you could use Avast, Avira, Bit Defender, or Malware Bytes for free, though some do require registration. All of these programs are relatively easy on your computer in terms of memory use and are well reviewed. These steps along with keeping your computer updated should help keep your computer protected.

If you have an interest in the programs that help protect us or the basis of the code behind malware, check out some of these fine selections from our shelves:

Hacking Exposed Malware & Rootkits: Malware & Rootkits Security Secrets & Solutions by Michael Davis, Sean Bodmer, and Aaron Lemasters.

Python Playground: Geeky Projects for the Curious Programmer by Mahesh Venkitachalam.

The Dark Side of the Internet: Protecting Yourself and Your Family from Online Criminals by Paul Bocij.

Share this Post