Virus Prevention on your Surface 3 or Surface Pro 3
Recently, we wrote about what to do if your Surface is infected with malware, but really, the best way to deal with computer viruses is to prevent them altogether.
Now, the good news is that if you follow a few safe computing practices on a regular basis, chances are that you will never have to worry about your Surface tablet being infected.
Prevention is always the best policy and it starts with just a little bit of knowledge and this article will provide you with what you need to know.
First of all, in previous articles we had written, we talked about the Surface 2/RT line as being pretty much immune to viruses and they still are.
However, now that Microsoft has just about abandoned Windows RT, the new Surface 3 tablets, as well as the Surface Pro 3 tablets, come with full blown version of Windows 8.1.
This means that you can install anything you like on them (which is good) but it also means that they are more prone to malicious virus infection (which is bad). So, as on any other PC, you need to protect yourself and your device from computer viruses and other malware.
In my humble opinion, the best way to do so is through virus and malware prevention. You can prevent most infections by understanding how they happen and by following a few simple practices. Here is a short list of the most common ways to get a virus or malware on your computer, in computer parlance, they are often called “vectors”:
- Unknown attachments (email, txt, IM)
- Web browsing
- Installed programs
- USB drives
- Out-of-date or missing anti-virus and anti-malware software
- Out-of-date programs or missing Windows updates
So, without going into too much detail, here is a list of seven best practices you should follow to help you keep your Surface from ever getting a virus or malware infectioned:
- NEVER open attachments from people you don’t know
- NEVER click on unexpected popups. This is especially true of popups claiming you won a prize or that your computer is infected and you need to pay to have it cleaned
- NEVER browse on “dubious” websites. You’ll know it when you see one
- ALWAYS be wary of programs you download from the internet. This is especially true of torrented files. Before you install anything downloaded from the internet, use your anti-virus to scan it
- If in doubt, ALWAYS check to make sure it is not a scam/virus by doing a simple google search. You’ll be surprised how much information is out there on just about every scam
- ALWAYS keep your system and software up to date
- ALWAYS have a good anti-virus package installed, see our post on free anti-virus software
- ALWAYS have a good anti-malware package installed, see our post on anti-malware protection
I know I covered this in the second bullet but, it bears repeating… NEVER, EVER (I DON’T CARE IF YOUR GRANDMOTHER VOUCHES FOR IT) GIVE YOUR CREDIT CARD OR BANK ACCOUNT INFO TO A RANDOM POPUP!!!
Tim’s dad recently fell victim to one of those scams. He got a popup saying his computer was infected and for $50 “a company in Florida” will be happy to clean it for him.
He only called Tim after he had already given them his credit card info. Tim was not happy and his dad ended up needing to change all of his passwords, have his credit card deactivated/replaced, and his computer wiped and reloaded.
It was a harsh lesson for his dad, so I hope everyone can learn from it.
Anyway, the best practice list isn’t long and there is no reason why everyone shouldn’t be familiar with it. If you follow those simple steps, your Surface will be much safer and you will save yourself a lot of headaches – guaranteed!
Coming soon… best practices for public Wi-Fi networks.