Top 10 tips to help protect Windows 10 from malware. How to protect your desktop, laptop, tablet, or data from any type of threat
In today’s world, where the Internet is already a part of our daily life, and personal computers store the largest part of our personal information, the issue of data security is becoming more relevant than ever. If you do not take the necessary steps to protect your device and data, you will be at increased risk of being attacked by malware that aims to steal personal information and damage the normal operation of your computer.
While there are different types of malware, one thing is for sure – it shouldn’t have a place on your computer. Fortunately, there are many tools to deal with various threats, and many security tools are already built into the Windows 10 operating system. However, a sound security strategy is not limited to installing antivirus and hoping for a good outcome. The best results can be achieved through a combination of highly efficient software and specialized knowledge of how to avoid potential threats.
In this Windows 10 guide, we’ll cover nine tips to help protect your desktop, laptop, tablet or data from virtually any type of malware, including viruses, ransomware, Internet worms, Trojans, spyware, adware, and other malware. …
Update Windows 10 and programs
Perhaps the most important step you can take to keep your device and data safe is keeping Windows 10 and installed software up to date.
Software companies such as Microsoft continually release updates to address known vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cybercriminals.
Although Windows 10 updates are downloaded and installed automatically, you can always ensure that your system has the latest updates by going to the Settings> Update & Security> Windows Update menu tab and clicking the Check for Updates button.
It is also important to periodically check for and install updates for the software installed on your computer. On Windows 10, apps you purchased from the Microsoft Store will automatically update as soon as a new version is available. However, classic desktop applications in most cases will not be updated because they use a different update mechanism. Always check the developer’s official website to download and install software updates.
Upgrade to the latest version of Windows 10
Just because your device is running Windows 10 does not mean that it has the latest version of that operating system.
Windows 10 originally launched in 2015, and since then Microsoft has released several major feature updates, adding new functionality and improvements to performance, productivity, and most importantly, security improvements.
If you want to keep your device as malware free as possible, you should always only use the latest version of Windows 10.
New versions of Windows 10 are available for free installation, and usually the update process is automatic. However, if you are not using the most recent version, you can manually update using Windows Update or the Media Creation Tool and Windows Update Assistant, which can force an update or a clean install of the latest version.
Tip: To find out your version of Windows 10, press the combination Windows + R, enter the phrase winver and click OK. If version 1903 is displayed, then you are using the May 2019 Update.
Use an antivirus
Antivirus is a must-have on every computer — it detects and removes malware before it can compromise your files, affect performance, or disrupt your device.
However, antivirus is not the type of program that you install once and then forget about it. You should regularly update your antivirus software to ensure effective protection against the latest threats, including viruses, Internet worms, ransomware, and other malicious modules.
Windows 10 comes with built-in antivirus – Windows Defender is part of the Security Center and offers excellent real-time protection against viruses, ransomware, spyware, worms, rootkits and Trojans.
If you want more protection, you can change the Windows Defender cloud protection in Windows 10.
Third party antivirus
Windows 10’s built-in antivirus should be sufficient for most users of the system. However, there are a large number of third party security solutions on the market that you can use. Some of them are distributed free of charge, while others are paid for.
If you are unsure which antivirus to choose, check out the test results from independent antivirus labs.
If you’re using Windows Defender, you can also add Malwarebytes Free as an added layer of protection. Malwarebytes is a popular anti-malware solution that can scan, detect, and remove the very malware that has already infected your PC.
Malwarebytes is a free tool, and it can work in conjunction with Windows 10’s built-in antivirus, but you’ll have to manually run scans from time to time. The paid version of Malwarebytes offers real-time protection, scheduled scans, and many other advanced features.
Use protection from ransomware
Although classic viruses remain one of the most common types of malware, ransomware attacks are becoming very popular among cybercriminals. Ransomware is another type of malware designed to encrypt a victim’s personal files and demand a ransom to restore access to the data. The victim is asked to pay in bitcoins or another anonymous currency, and no one gives any guarantees.
Protecting against ransomware in Windows 10
Starting with the Fall Creators Update, Windows 10 received an anti-ransomware feature called Controlled Folder Access. This feature not only prevents ransomware from accessing your files, but also blocks any other unauthorized access by malware.
You can follow our guide to enable protection against ransomware in Windows 10. It’s worth noting that Controlled Folder Access is part of the Windows Defender Exploit Guard security feature. This means that it is only available when using WIndows Defender as antivirus protection.
Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool
As an alternative to system protection, you can choose the free third-party tool Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool. This free solution from Kaspersky Lab is designed to protect computers from known malicious objects, including ransomware, ransomware, and cryptominers.
Once installed, Anti-Ransomware Tool will block any suspicious activity that resembles the behavior patterns of ransomware Trojans. The user can allow or deny the suspicious action. The tool identifies malicious applications based on the information contained in the anti-virus databases. The tool uses two technologies to detect the typical behavior of ransomware: Kaspersky Security Network and Activity Monitor.
You can download the latest version of Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware on our website. The program is distributed free of charge.
Use a firewall
Another way to protect your PC, laptop or tablet from malware is by using a firewall.
A firewall or firewall is a software or hardware tool that serves to block malicious attacks by hackers, worms, ransomware, viruses and other types of threats that try to access a computer from the Internet or local network to steal information.
There are many third-party network security tools on the market, but Windows 10 already includes a very effective firewall.
Windows Firewall is usually turned on by default, but it’s important to make sure it works correctly. Go to Windows Defender Security Center> Firewall and Network Security, and make sure that the status “Firewall is on” is shown next to each connection type. Otherwise, click the Enable button, or select your current connection and click the firewall switch to the active position.
If you use a third-party firewall, then check the developer’s official website to learn how to work with the program and control connections.
Use trusted trusted apps
Try to avoid downloading and installing applications from unknown sources and download software from official sites. Whenever possible, download applications from the Microsoft Store on Windows 10. All programs on this site have been tested by Microsoft and do not contain malicious code.
If you want to improve security, you can turn on the feature to block the installation of non-Microsoft Store desktop apps. This option will not only block the ability to obtain applications from unreliable sources, but also stop the attempt of potentially dangerous programs to install into the system automatically without the user’s consent.
Alternatively, you can also use a standard user account instead of an administrator account to prevent malware from being installed using elevated privileges.
However, if your account is the only administrator account on the computer, then you cannot make it a standard user account. First of all, you will need to create a new administrator account, and then you can change the type of the original account to the standard one.
With a limited account, you can still run applications, but you won’t be able to install new programs. You will be able to change the system settings, but you will not be able to make unwanted changes for other accounts. If the task requires administrator rights, you will receive a User Account Control (UAC) prompt and you will need to provide an administrator account username and password to complete the task.
Create multiple backups
One of the best ways to keep your computer and files safe from malicious attacks is to back up regularly. If you are concerned about personal data corruption and compromise, you should create at least two backups – one local (offline) copy and one in the cloud.
Your backup strategy should be to create a complete backup of your system and data that can be stored locally, such as a local network drive (NAS) or an external hard drive. This type of backup will allow you to recover data after malware infection, damage to the primary media, hardware failures or other accidents.
When it comes to data protection, there are never too many backups. If you have the option to create a backup and save in an alternative safe location, then feel free to do so.
After creating a backup, do not forget to disconnect the drive from the main system and save it in a safe place or disconnect from the network the NAS where you store the copies. This is because if the drive remains online and accessible from your device, then malware can still get to it and infect these files.
If you’re using Windows 10, then you don’t even need to install a third-party backup software. The system already has a system imaging tool that allows you to make a copy of files, applications, settings and the entire Windows installation.
File History is another form of offline backup that you can use to back up all of your files locally.
Alternatively, if you are not using a large number of files, you can regularly copy and paste your documents to a USB drive.
It is recommended that you make a full backup once a day, but if your files don’t change very often, you should consider backing them up at least once a week. If you are dealing with corporate data, you should make backups at least once or twice a day.
Cloud backup is one of the best ways to protect your files from malware, as well as protect against data loss from accidental deletion, hard drive failure, and natural disasters.
OneDrive is the simplest cloud backup solution any Windows 10 user can use. It also offers Protect Important Files, which gives users the ability to automatically sync files from their Desktop and Pictures and Documents folders to OneDrive.
While you can use OneDrive to protect your data, using a third-party online backup service may be more appropriate in some cases. The only drawback of most cloud storage services is the need for full user participation in the recovery process. In any case, you can create a complete system image using the built-in Windows 10 tool, and then upload it to a paid cloud service, for example, Google Backup and Sync or Yandex.Disk.
The best antivirus is yourself
The best tool for protecting your data and files is yourself. Typically, a device becomes infected with malware as a result of user actions such as clicking a link, opening an email, or installing an application from an untrusted source.
When checking email, only open messages from senders you know or from senders you can identify. Delete all suspicious letters. You can usually quickly recognize spam messages by the large number of errors and typos.
Malicious programs can spread via pop-ups that appear on the sites you visit. If the pop-up does not inspire confidence, do not click the image or link, but simply close the window. Sometimes specially crafted pop-ups cannot be closed – in this case, use script blockers or simply restart your device.
Use modern web browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Yandex Browser. These web browsers are always up to date and have excellent security features. Most of them can alert you to a potential security issue and prevent you from visiting an unsafe resource. If you get a warning, don’t try to find a workaround, as there must be a good reason for showing it.
Clean up malware infection
If a virus, Internet worm, ransomware or other type of malware can still bypass your PC’s security mechanisms, the first thing you need to do is disconnect your PC from the Internet. You can do this by unplugging the Ethernet cable, disconnecting the Wi-Fi adapter, or turning off the power of the router – this way you will block the threat from spreading to other devices.
Then open Windows Defender and use the offline scan feature. If you do not have control over your PC, then use another device to burn a bootable USB flash drive with a copy of Windows Defender Offline.
Many antivirus programs support offline scanning using antivirus boot disks. If you are using third-party security software, please visit the developer’s official website to learn how to perform offline scanning.
If none of the steps helped to remove the malware, you should restore your system using the latest available backup. In case you only have a backup copy of your files, perform a clean install of Windows 10. After installation, you will need to reinstall applications, reapply the settings and restore files using the backups.
Finally, if you are already desperate and cannot remove the threat in any way, and you haven’t stocked up on a backup copy either, then it’s time to seek qualified help. And remember that you can always consult on our website using the comment form.