Malware infection is one of the those nuisances that gives you instant headache that even Advil cannot cure. And to be honest, malware infection takes places when you do not expect it – on Monday morning or when you have to finish an urgent report. Many times the malware infections your PC when you download some malicious or infected files. But if you take a few precautions, then you can stop downloading of malicious files in your PC:
1. Use Firefox Web Browser
When downloading files from the internet, always use Firefox to download them. Firefox has in-built features that can prevent download of malicious files. If you download a malicious file in Firefox, it will show a warning that the downloaded file contains a virus or malware and you are given options to remove it.
2. Use Antivirus with Web Scanning Features
A few years ago, only a couple of antivirus programs offered web scanning, but now all the reputed antivirus companies offer web scanning. Using this feature, the antivirus can scan the data being downloaded over HTTP or HTTPS protocols and break the connection if malicious data download is detected. Avast, ESET NOD32, Bitdefender, Kaspersky etc., offer antivirus products with great web scanning features.
3. Scan Downloaded Files with VirusTotal
One person can install only one antivirus on their PC, but that one antivirus program could let a new malware slip under the radar. This is why you should scan any newly downloaded file with more than 50 antivirus engines with their own respective virus definitions through VirusTotal. You can just visit the VirusTotal website, upload your file and wait for the scan results. If only 3-4 antivirus engines are showing it as malicious, then perhaps it is false positive. But if many of the popular antivirus products like Bitdefender, Kaspersky, ESET etc., flag it as malicious then you should immediately delete that downloaded file.
4. Use SandBoxie to Access Downloaded Files
Assuming that all else fails and the malware is really clever, you can still outsmart it by running it under a sandboxed environment. A free (nagware) software called Sandboxie provides such an environment. You can launch the downloaded programs under Sandboxie. You can open documents under Sandboxie too. If the malware tries to make changes to your system, they will be made inside the virtual environment created by Sandboxie instead and your PC will stay safe.
Conclusion: These are a few ways of protecting your PC from malware that could be offered by various websites in disguise of useful software. You can always take a few extra steps and safety guidelines to keep from getting infected.