Keeping your computer and your data safe while surfing the internet doesn’t just entail installing a couple of security programs. Read on to find out what habits you must refrain from to prevent a malware or virus infection on your machine.

Leaving the JavaScript enabled by default

Regardless of whether you’re using Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Internet Explorer, you should probably know that all browsers are similarly susceptible to web-based malware. Nowadays, most hackers prefer to keep their malicious programs on the web and have all necessary tools to update them so they can easily bypass signature-based scanners. To avoid an infection, remember to disable JavaScript on all but the most trusted websites you visit on a regular basis.

Clicking unsolicited links in your emails/IMs

While most people know they shouldn’t click links sent by strangers in their emails or on an IM, sometimes the temptation is hard to resist. Before you check out that too-good-to-be-true deal or amazing offer, you should make a habit of reading the email in plain text first. In almost all cases, unsolicited links received in this manner are socially engineered attacks.

Using Adobe Reader with default settings

If you have Adobe Reader or Acrobat installed on your computer, then you should update it to the latest version as soon as possible. Both programs are known for their vulnerabilities and are even considered one of the most common infection vectors today.

Ignoring security patches on your programs

In case you don’t make a habit of keeping the programs on your computer updated to their latest version, then chances are there are dozens on vulnerabilities on your machine just waiting to be exploited. To avoid malicious infections and data theft, considering installing software that alerts you about the latest updates and the programs that require patching.

Logging into an account from an unsolicited link

As any gamer will point out, logging into an account directly from a link received on a social network, email or IM is a huge no-no. Sometimes, you might have reasons to believe this is a legit claim and you want to log onto an account to check if everything is fine. In this case, close the page that asks you to login and open a new tab in your browser to visit the site using a bookmark or known good link.

Not having a firewall installed on your computer

The absence of a firewall on your machine is like leaving your front door open on a busy street. Even though ideally you should find a reliable third-party firewall for your machine, at least activating the built-in variant on your Windows is bound to confer you a certain level of protection.

Assuming your antivirus provides 100% protection

Having an antivirus installed and updating it with each patch is the first step towards avoiding malicious software infections. However, keep in mind that no antivirus on the market can offer you 100% protection, especially with so many new malware out there. With tens of thousands of new malware variants released every month, it’s understandable why your security program can miss some of them.

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