Thinking back on the changes in what we like to call the “threat landscape” over the years, a lot has changed. From the days of actual viruses and worms spreading their way through networks, to the rise of spyware and adware that slowed your computer to a crawl with pop-up ads and toolbars, to the scourge of encrypting ransomware that we see today.

As much as things have changed, the methods of distribution have remained fairly constant. The majority of malware we see is distributed via exploits or through some form of social engineering. While there seems to be no shortage of zero-day exploits being used, many of the exploits used to install malware have been patched for a long time. We see infections that use exploits that were patched years ago on a regular basis. Social engineering has certainly become more advanced, but users continue to click on malicious links or attachments in email messages.

The following is an updated to our Webroot Internet Security FAQ from around 2005. Some of the terminology may be a bit older but the information is still relevant today.

How can I prevent computer viruses? Take these steps to fortify your computer security against viruses right away:

  • Use anti virus protection and a firewall
  • Update your operating system regularly
  • Increase your browser security settings
  • Avoid questionable Web sites
  • Only download software from sites you trust
  • Practice safe email protocol
  • Don’t open messages from unknown senders
  • Immediately delete messages you suspect to be spam
  • Avoid free software and file-sharing applications
  • Get anti-spyware software protection

So while the types of threats out there are changing, the fundamentals are staying the same which luckily allows the potential victim to take similar approaches to rectifying the attack and staying safe online. As always, it is best to stay updated with newest trends in security, but always remember the core foundation of staying safe online.

Dan Para

About the Author

Dan Para

Senior Threat Research Analyst

Dan Para is a Senior Threat Research Analyst focused on the detection and prevention of malware and other threats.

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