No matter what operating system your device uses you can still be at risk for getting infected with malware.

What is Malware?

Malware is simply software created by hackers to interfere with the normal operation of a device.  This can include accessing data, altering processes and trasmitting sensative information.  Malware can also include computer viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware, adware, and most rootkits.

But I have a Mac, I'm safe right?

Wrong.  Traditionally macs have been somewhat virus free. However this was mostly because the PC market was a much larger target for hackers. With the increase of Apple products in the marketplace, hackers have taken note.  Apple has even dropped their virus immunity claim in their marketing of Macs.

Fear not no matter your operating system you can take steps to keep your system secure.  Here are some tips to keep your system safe no matter what operating system you use:

  • Keep your system updated. This means reguarlly installing operating system updates, as well as updates for applications like Flash. Most operating systems have the ability to automatically install updates for you. All you have to do is set it and forget it.
  • Keep your browser up to date.  Your daily dose of LOL Cats can wait while take a few seconds to say "Yes" to that little pop up asking you if you want to update your browser now.
  • Consider browser addons. There are many addons for browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and even modern versions of Internet Explorer that can help keep you safe on line.  Web of Trust is one that will help protect you from accessing sites with poor reputations which could potentially harm your computer.
  • Don't open e-mail attachments unless you are 100% sure that it is virus free.  Random emails from someone you haven't talked to in years about a too good to be true oppertunity generally is. On a related note, report spam, don't just delete it. It will keep your inbox cleaner and help protect you.

Keeping Your Mac Malware Free

  • Only use approved Apple apps. Unverified apps are just that, unverified. They could be infected with malware or not meet Apple's security guidelines.
  • Get antivirus! This is one of the most important things you can do! There are a variety of free and paid options. A good free option is Sophos.  Paid options include VirusBarrier X6, and Norton Antivirus. Remember! Scan reguarly!

Keeping Your PC Malware Free

  • Install antivirus. There are many paid and free options out there. For free options consider AVG or Avast.  Paid options include Norton Antivirus. Remember to schedule scans and scan regularly! Always scan items downloaded from the internet!
  • Install malware scanning and removal tools like Malwarebytes (paid), Ad Aware (free). Remember! Scan regularly!
  • Use a firewall. Windows 7 comes with it's own suite of malware fighting tools included virus protection, malware removal and a firewall. If you'd like another firewall option try Zone Alarm.

Don't forget about your Android Device!

  • Never install apps from an untrusted publisher. Read reviews to be sure the app is legit.
  • Check app permissions. Does that alarm app really need all your contacts?
  • Avoid installing APKs (Android Package files).
  • Install antivirus on your phone like Lookout Mobile Security.

Don't forget about iOS devices either!

  • Set a passcode. For tips how to do that check this out!
  • Don't Jailbreak! Yes, it's tempting but don't do it! If you jailbreak you open the door to unapproved apps and malware.
  • Be careful when you surf!  Always make sure you are on official sites.

No matter what device you use to connect to the internet there is always a risk for malware. Now you should have the knowledge you  need to keep you and your device safe from malware whether you are on your smartphone or laptop.  Do you have any other security tips to share? Let us know in the comments!