An ounce of prevention is way more fun.
Time and effort to protecting yourself pales in comparison to cleaning up an infection (or paying a Russian crime syndicate to retrieve personal or business documents).
- Be wary of free downloadable software. Avoid clicking on unsolicited pop-ups or links. If you’re being offered a free program in the form of a game, clean-up utility, et cetera, chances are it’s a scam. Installing software from an unknown source can be akin to giving a stranger access to your computer. Don’t do that.
- Read carefully and consider saying “no” when offered unexpected questions / links / buttons. Be wary of unexpected dialog boxes asking whether you want to install or run a particular program or perform another type of task that seems fishy. Select Cancel or close the window, and consider running a scan with your antivirus software after quitting your browser.
- Malware often masquerades as antivirus or anti-spyware software. Choose only security software that has been widely used and reviewed. Otherwise it may serve the opposite purpose and actually install the malware it claims to be eliminating.