Your click does matter! - What you do online could determine whether your information ends up getting stolen, your banking credentials are hacked, or your system is infected with malicious software.
Anti-Virus v. Anti-Malware: What's the difference?
Most AV (anti-virus) solutions offer the same features as AM (anti-malware) solutions but the real meaning behind it all is generally a marketing difference. Malware is a term used for all malicious software, while virus is a term used for a type of malicious software that spreads and replicates itself.
Built-in security mechanisms
By default, Windows 10* (assuming you're on an updated OS) has these security mechanisms built-in:
UAC: User Account Control
UAC allows the user of a PC to provide authority to applications seeking administrative access to perform modifications to certain features/files on a machine.
Alerts you when an application attempts to run that is unknown or not trusted.
Kernel Patch Protection & PatchGuard (x64 Systems Only)
In-place to prevent manipulation of the Windows Kernel.
- Do not open any emails you weren't expecting.
- Make sure you use the correct website and not a phishing page.
- Use passwords that use a variety of letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Avoid the use of torrents.
- Use real licensed software and not cracks or key-generators (keygens).
- When visiting a webpage you are unsure of, use a VPN. - as a precaution.
- Un-check boxes when downloading specific items, most come bundled with other useless items.
- Do not plug any USB's into your machine that you may have found.
- When logging into websites, make sure they have 'https://' within the URL.
Keeping your OS (operating system) up-to-date is extremely important because when the new patches get sent out they are to secure certain holes within the system that contain vulnerabilities, and other bugs.
It is also recommended that you upgrade your OS to the latest version if you haven't already.
Using a password manager makes not locking yourself out of your own accounts a breeze and using more secure passwords even easier!
Having an AV/AM is a critical point of protection for most users, and it should be. It is used as a primary source of prevention and defense for malicious software.
Windows Defender (built-in)
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (can be used with another solution)
Emsisoft Anti-Malware - Highly recommend!
Keeping your software up-to-date is just as important as anything else; Doing so provides protection against exploits that appear in the wild that may lead to a possible infection or breach.
You may do so with ease by using an application called PatchMyPC.
Encrypting your DNS traffic will help prevent MITM attacks.
Windows client: Simple DNSCrypt
USB Drive's are a common vector for attack, thus protecting against this is always a smart decision!
I suggest using USB Flash Drives Control from BiniSoft which allows you to enable/disable read, write, and execute mode for flash drives.