9 Easy Ways To Never Get A Virus

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how to never get a virusIn 20 odd years of using computers, I can safely say that I’ve never been a victim of any computer virus, and yet I’ve also never run anti-virus software. It’s a curious fact that the people who are most worried about viruses get them more often.  With a little basic training you can completely avoid the problem of viruses and malware, so you can calm down and enjoy the internet!

1. Beware of Fake Download / Play Buttons:

Usually these are targeted on torrent sites or anything with a download keyword on it, so users are fooled into clicking it and downloading something completely unrelated. It’s a dirty trick, and the only way to defeat them is to be careful and think twice before hitting the download button. It helps if you already know the site in question, because you should be able to realize the location of the download button has changed – but what about new users?

Check the status bar. Though this can be faked with JavaScript, I’ve noticed these ads in particular don’t usually do that. If the domain in the status is different to the site you’re on, it’s probably a malicious advert.

Another method is to use logic. If you have download some software for example, and it’s showing a PLAY NOW button, you should know instantly that’s completely unrelated. The visual style is a giveaway too.

how to never get a virus

2. Don’t use Internet Explorer:

In every hacking convention so far, Internet Explorer has always been the first to fall. It has been claimed that a fresh install of XP with IE6 will be infected within minutes of browsing the internet. While the latest IE9 may have toughened up a little, the fact is that IE is specifically targeted by hackers on a daily basis, precisely because the number of people who don’t even consider switching browsers makes it a profitable target. Go download Chrome.

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3. Hang Up on Cold-Calling Indian Technical Support Agents:

In the UK at least, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of scam telephone calls from supposed Windows technical support agents. Here’s how it starts:
A: Hi there, I’m from (indecipherable) and we’ve registered an error from your Windows – have you been experiencing any issues with it lately?

At this point, 90% of people will be thinking their Windows is broken and yes, of course they have been experiencing issues, because who doesn’t have Windows problems? You’ll then be walked through how to give this called complete remote control access to your PC, where they perform some BS technical checks and try to get you to purchase a support contract. Check out this video so you know what to expect.

4. Ignore Pop-Ups That Have Anything To Do With Security or Viruses:

These are difficult if you are actually running anti-virus software, because they pop up and fool you into thinking your AV software has found something.

For a start, ignore anything originating from your browser – which you can check by completely closing it down. As a general rule of thumb, ignore any and all security related messages if you didn’t initiate them youself – by clicking on your AV software’s SCAN button, for example. If you get a message from an AV app on windows you never installed, it’s likely you’ve already been infected.

never get a virus again

5. Avoid Public Torrent Sites Like The Plague:

Most public torrent sites are teething with malware and fake torrents. I don’t care what you download, but make sure you do it from a private tracker. They’re a few exceptions to the rule, some of which we’ve covered in the best new torrent sites.

piratebay.org – with millions of users, the comment system is usually full of reports of fake files or viruses – but stick to uploads from trusted power users (ones with a little pink or green skull and crossbones next to them).

never get a virus again

Private trackers are only open to members, so it’s sometimes hard to find some that are accepting new registrations. We wrote before about how to find trackers that are open. Be warned though, private trackers don’t take kindly to leeching, and if your ratio drops you can get banned.

never get a virus again

6. Fake Torrents That Need a Specific Video Player:

If you’ve ignored my advice and downloaded some movie from a public torrent site, there’s a very good chance it’s a fake. These are difficult to detect because the file is usually padded to be about the right size, but upon playing them you’ll see a message that you need to download a new video player because it’s encoded specially or words to that effect.

Don’t download movies from public sites, and use VLC player to check a file. VLC player has every codec under the sun built-in, so if it doesn’t play correctly in that, it’s not a real movie.

how to never get a virus

7. Don’t Open Anything Forwarded To You:

While you can be as careful as you like, your friends might not. If you have the kind of friends who forward you fun little flash games packaged up in .exe files, or anything other than a simple picture, just delete them.

8. Don’t search for common utilities in Google:

We covered this a little while ago – the worrying trend of malware ridden sites ranking highly in Google for various common utilities. Thinking you are downloading the best video player around, you actually get a virus infected copy instead from a dodgy third-party site. The solution – Have no fear, we have an extensive list of the BEST software for Windows (and now Linux, with Mac OSx one in the works – not that osx or linux users need to worry about viruses…) with verified links that you can trust. If you’re unsure of a particular app – where to download it officially or if it’s worth it – you can always ask around on our helpful tech questions community.

9. Create a non-admin account for general use and family members:

If you allow yourself and members of your family to use the administration account, you are asking for trouble. Creating a limited privileges user account protects you somewhat by preventing anything run by that user (malicious or not) from doing any permanent damage. You can find out more about user accounts and everything else Windows 7 related in our fantastic free ebook.

The internet can be a dangerous place, but not if you follow these simple rules. Got some other useful tips? Do share, please! Let’s put an end to the madness of anti-virus now!

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Comments (38)
  • Jixyovanni

    Using an administration account for general use is just fine, as long as you don’t let people who don’t know much about the internet, such as children, use it.

  • jean

    I stumbled onto this article trying to preapre a checklist or some newbie friends . I realize this is OOOLLLD but the first couple of lines cracked me – It is intersting to say you have never had a virus while also stating you have never run a virus scan. It would carry more credibility if you regularly ran virus scans and came up clean ; otherwise I have as much confidence in your claim as I do in all the “free downloads guaranteed not to be malware” claims.

    • James Bruce

      I live a happy and fulfilling computer life, and do not complain about popups, random ads, browser redirection, search bars, viruses, stolen credit card details, or any of the other symptoms of malware. So, believe it or not, I don’t really care either way ;)

  • Mwarren76

    The ‘PC tech support cold-calling scam’ video really cracked me up, especially when he said “terrible attacked by some malicious file” :). I feel sorry for people that fall for this scam. Why isn’t there a mass general media coverage of this? Right after hearing about Swine flu, I want to hear about these type of scams on national news channel.

  • Anilsingh1984

    The title “Hang Up on Cold-Calling Indian Technical Support Agents” is not appropriate. Request you to please remove the word Indian as it gives an impression that all support executives from India are crooks.

    • James Bruce

      Request denied. I’ve never had any cold calling Chinese technical support agents, nor american, nor any other. The key word here is “cold calling”, and this SCAM does indeed only occur from India. So, no, sorry. 

    • Tina

      My elderly roommate recently had a call like that and handed the phone to me. The woman on the other end had a strong Indian accent and promptly hung up when I asked her which computer in the house was supposedly affected and how she got the number etc. This was in Canada.

  • Sean Wilkerson

    I call BS. I guarantee that you have some type of malware on your system if you haven’t ran any type of anti virus or anti malware. Download Malwarebytes and run a scan.

    • James Bruce

      I did a few months ago when I reviewed http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/optimize-sterilize-harmonize-system-iobit-advanced-system-care-windows/ and it found nothing then (apart from the usual “malicious cookies”, oh no, website left a cookie, OMG). I would indulge you this time, but im afraid i reformated last weekend and havent touched the machine since (too busy with real work), so i very much doubt it would find anything. 

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.