What can I do to minimize the risk of a malware attack?

KB Solution ID: SOLN130|Last Revised: April 01, 2015

Although it is not possible for any antivirus system to completely eliminate the risk caused by infiltrations and attacks, it is possible to significantly minimize your risk of infection by following some best practice strategies. In combination with the protection you expect from your ESET product, following these strategies, will help keep your information safe.

In the rare event that you are infected by malicious software (malware) and your ESET product is unable to remove the infected files, contact ESET Customer Care.

Protect yourself with your ESET product

Practice safe Internet browsing

Keep your computer protected

North American Users: Educate yourself on staying safe online

Protect yourself with your ESET product

  • Keep your virus signature database current — The specialists at the ESET virus lab analyze Internet threats throughout the day and release regular updates to continually improve the level of protection for ESET users. By default, your ESET product updates the virus signature database several times a day. These updates enable rapid detection of new threats and keep your computer well protected.

  • Use a firewall — ESET Smart Security includes a Personal firewall to protect your outgoing and incoming communications. Learn more about Personal firewall behavior and user interaction in ESET Smart Security.
  • Keep Real-time file system protection enabled — By default, Real-time file system protection launches at system startup and provides uninterrupted scanning of all types of media. Files are scanned again immediately after each virus signature database update. If you disable Real-time file system protection, the ESET icon next to the system clock will turn red, notifying you that maximum protection is not ensured. You can re-enable it from the main program window by clicking the red protection status icon in the top right corner of the main program window and clicking Enable real-time file system protection.
  • Know what your protection status means — The ESET icon next to the system clock will stay green as long as maximum protection is ensured. View our guide to the Protection status icon colors.
  • Perform regular computer scans — In addition to Real-time file system protection, the On-demand computer scan is an essential component of your security routine, particularly if you are a high-risk user or suspect that your computer is infected. Schedule a regular On-demand computer scan to detect threats that were present prior to the installation of your ESET security product, potentially harmful files that are dormant and were not detected prior to an update of the virus signature database and infections that may have occurred while the Real-time file system protection was disabled.

Practice safe Internet browsing

  • Restrict access to suspicious websites — Restricting access to suspicious websites is particularly useful if there are multiple users accessing the Internet on your computer. Antispyware in ESET products allows you to block certain websites or entire domains. ESET recommends blocking the following domains: .co.cc, .cz.cc.
  • Choose secure passwords.
  • Keep your passwords secure — Do not give your passwords out to anyone or keep them written down in an easily accessible place.
  • Beware of phishing and spam — Do not open emails from unknown senders. Scan all attachments before opening or downloading them. Do not discuss important information via unsolicited emails (or phone calls) without verifying that the sender is authentic. Most legitimate financial institutions will not ask you to give them sensitive account information via email, particularly if it is unsolicited. You can send emails that you suspect are designed to steal your personal data to ESET as samples of phishing emails.
  • If you weren't looking for it, don't download it — Avoid downloading files or programs that you did not set out to attain in the first place, as they could be from untrustworthy sources. Malware authors often use messaging intended to persuade users to perform a download that contains malicious software (see Email, Spamming, Hoaxes and Phishing).
  • Use a pop-up blocker — Although not all pop-up windows are malicious, pop-ups can be part of phishing scams or a gateway for virus downloads. Clicking the pop-up windows to close them may install the threat. You can close pop-up windows by pressing Alt + F4 on your keyboard or using Task Manager. Learn more about pop-up blockers and how to set them in your respective browser by clicking one of the links below:

    Microsoft Internet Explorer

    Mozilla Firefox

  • Exercise caution with attachments and downloads — Do not open email attachments from unknown users, or from known users if you were not expecting them. Scan all files with a virus scanner before downloading them.
  • Teach children safe Internet practices — If you have children, discuss safe Internet browsing practices with them. You can also use the links above to restrict access to suspicious websites.

Keep your computer protected

  • Back up your important data — Malware infection often leads to total malfunction of the operating system and damage to important data. It is important to regularly back up your important and sensitive data to an external source such as a DVD or an external hard drive. These precautions make it far easier and faster to recover your data in the event of system failure.

  • Do not change default settings unless you are an experienced user — Know the consequences of changing a setting before you alter it. Changing certain system settings may put your computer at risk and should not be done unless you are fully informed of the potential repercussions.

  • Download security patches — Software companies watch closely for new vulnerabilities in their applications and regularly release security updates that eliminate potential threats. It is important to download these security updates as they are released. If you are running Windows, you can learn more about automatic updates from Microsoft. You can also directly download the latest updates from: http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com.

North American Users: Educate yourself on staying safe online

One of the best ways to avoid becoming the victim of an attack is to learn more about the methods malware authors use. The more you know, the less likely it is that you will fall victim to such an attack.

Installing security software is the first step toward cybersecurity. The second is educating yourself about safe Internet practices. ESET North America customers have access to complimentary ESET Cybersecurity Education that will help you to stay safe online. ESET Cybersecurity Education takes you through real-world cybercrime scenarios using animations and educational exercises.

Need Personalized Assistance in North America?

If you're not already an ESET customer, ESET Support Services are available to clean, optimize and secure your system. Call 866-944-3738 or click to schedule an appointment with ESET Support Services today!

Rate this article:
1 2 3 4 5
Please comment on your rating...
We cannot respond to feedback from this form. Requests for assistance should be submitted through your normal support channel.
5 - Definitely
4 - Mostly
3 - Somewhat
2 - Not Really
1 - Not At All