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Don’t Be a Victim: 5 Easy Ways to Protect Yourself from Malware Scammers

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Don’t think that only older less tech-savvy people fall victim for malware scammers or hackers. It’s becoming a HUGE deal globally. There isn’t much aggregate data showing the real size of the threat other than Singapore’s report last September of $330 million in losses from online attacks during the first half of 2023.

Malware, short for malicious software, can wreak havoc on your computer, stealing data, installing unwanted programs, and hindering its performance. It also allows users to contact your mailing list impersonating you and attacking them as well.

Scammers are constantly creating new ways to deliver malware, making it crucial to stay vigilant and take preventative measures.

While complex security solutions exist, here are five surprisingly simple steps you can take to significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to malware attacks:

1. Scan suspicious files before opening them

Develop the habit of scanning any file before opening it, especially those downloaded from unknown sources or received in unsolicited emails.

You can use a free online scanner like Dr. Web to quickly scan files and detect potential threats.

2. Limit the damage with a non-administrative user account

Most users inadvertently grant their primary account administrative privileges on their computers. This, however, presents a security risk, as malware gaining administrative access can wreak havoc on your entire system.

To mitigate this, remove admin privileges from your main user on your desktop. Assign administrative roles to an account you don’t use.

Check also: 3 low-tech ways to protect yourself from phishing scams

3. Compartmentalize your email for enhanced security

Phishing attacks often target emails connected to crucial accounts like banks or online services. To minimize the risk of losing access to these accounts, consider creating a separate email address solely for these purposes.

Avoid using this email for casual browsing or signing up for online services. This compartmentalization helps ensure that even if your everyday email gets compromised, your sensitive accounts remain protected.

4. Identify malicious websites before you click

There are many free tools like IPQualityScore that can help you identify websites with a bad reputation for malware and phishing scams.

Simply paste the suspicious URL into the scanner and get a quick risk assessment before proceeding.

5. Be wary of disposable email addresses

Scammers often use disposable email addresses to mask their identities in phishing attempts. These temporary email addresses are created and discarded quickly, making it difficult to track the sender.

If you receive an email from an unfamiliar address, test it with this tool, if the email address turns out to be disposable, be extra cautious when opening any URL or even replying.

While these steps may seem basic, their effectiveness in safeguarding your computer against malware can be significant.

By implementing these practices, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to malicious software and protect your valuable data and online accounts.

Remember, vigilance is key!

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