Note: This is the first in a 2 part series on how to avoid computer viruses and malware. Read the second part here.
The Best Way to Avoid Computer Viruses
Forget antivirus software – use this simple technique below to avoid computer viruses before they ever infect your computer. The best way to avoid viruses is to know which website and email links are dangerous, and not to click on them. Below are the steps to make virus protection simple.
Step 1: Hover Over the Link in Question
Hold the mouse over the link and don’t click on it. You will see the website link you are about to click on, either at the bottom of the screen or in a popup next to the mouse.
Step 2: Look at the Domain
Here is the big secret of looking at website links: ignore the http:// part, and look at the two words before the first slash.
For example, look at the link http://www.google.com/search?q=look+for+stuff. The two words before the first slash are google.com. This tells you you’re going to Google. Now look at the image to the right (click on it to enlarge). The mouse is hovered over the link that claims to be http://www.BankOfAmerica.com, but the popup shows the actual site to be: http://www.bankofamerica.com.hack.com/ThisIsAHackedWebsite/YouAreNowInfected.htm. If you look at the two words before the first slash, you will see is is actually going to hack.com. You don’t trust hack.com, so you don’t click the link.
The simple steps highlighted above are crucial for virus protection. Follow these two steps whenever you are clicking on a link from an unexpected email or mistrusted website, and you will take a huge step toward never getting a virus again.
International Note: This trick works if you are in the US, where most domains in .com. If you are in, for instance, the UK where domains end in .co.uk, then look for the 3 words before the first slash.