Is my computer protected from virus and hackers?

OK, we get it. You don’t know if you have antivirus and if you have a Mac you always believed you didn’t need antivirus. Or even, you have free antivirus and you just don’t get that complete peace of mind. We get it. There are still ways to find out if your computer is protected from virus, hackers and threats or not.

A good way to verify your computer for free is to use Online Virus Scan tools provided by antivirus companies. Most if not all of these security brands offer virus and threat scan tools on their websites other than their premium antivirus software.

Some companies offer the scan through the website even though most now moved to a scan tool that needs to be downloaded and installed on your machine. These tools are usually free and offer fast or deep scanning possibilities to search for threats within your files. One important feature is the fact that it’s not necessary to remove or disable your current antivirus or firewall as these tools allow the use with that.

Use one of these Virus Scan tools from security companies if you aren’t too sure of the security of your computer.

Kaspersky Security Scan: Kaspersky offers a downloadable tool that scans your whole system using their database of virus. It can be installed without having to remove your current antivirus software. For Windows only.

Trend Micro Housecall Free Online Virus Scan: Housecall from Trend Micro can quickly identify threats and offers versions for Windows, and recent Mac OS systems, as well as a version for scanning your Android smartphone!

ESET Online Virus Scanner: ESET Online Virus Scanner allows you to scan your computer without having to download a tool if you use Internet Explorer. For other browsers, it’s necessary to download an installer.

Bitdefender Quick Scan: Bitdefender Quick Scan works as an extension for Google Chrome browser

F-Secure Online Scanner: F-Secure Online Scanner downloads an installable software to your computer to scan it.

Mcafee Security Scan:  Mcafee Security Scan checks the computer for anti-virus software, firewall protection and web security and threats in applications. For Windows.

Norton Security Scan: Norton Security Scan is also a downloadable software for Windows systems.

Be aware of cybersecurity and make sure to protect yourself online

Computer users should follow a few basic online security rules to stop virus and prevent getting your device infected.

  1. The most important one is to never open any attachment to an email or download software unless you know who it’s from and why they are sending it. Also avoid clicking links that seem suspicious. A lot of people these days fall for traps on Facebook, with offers from your friends on “How to lose weight” or “Watch these sexy pictures”. Do you really think your friends would send you or post that publicly without you asking? If your friends are posting that on Facebook, they are probably infected having clicked that themselves. Warn them!
  2. Having anti-virus software is crucial to preventing attacks and it doesn’t matter what Operation system you have. Nowadays, threats are all over, so you should have antivirus software on your Mac, Windows or Linux PCs and even on your phone and tablets. Antivirus work for you preventing known threats and stopping viruses when you let your guard down.
  3. Also make sure to have full backups of your system and do it on a regular basis. That way, if something happen and your files get blocked or deleted, you can always restore them from this backup or security copy. You should backup locally and online for better guarantee.

How do I know if my computer has anti-virus? And how do I know if my computer is safe?

To know if your computer is protected, check if you system has anti-virus software or if it’s up to date.

Check to see if you have anti-virus software installed on your Windows computer.

The best way to tell if you have anti-virus software installed is to use the Security Center feature on your Microsoft operating system. When you select this option, you’ll be presented with a status for:

  • Anti-virus software.
  • Firewall protection.

You can do this by following these simple steps:

  • Users using the classic start menu:  Start > Settings > Control Panel > Security Center.
  • Users using start menu: Start > Control Panel > Security Center.

To determine whether your Windows operating system is up-to-date:

  1. Go to Start > All Programs > Windows Update. This will direct you to a Microsoft website where you’ll be able to select Custom Install, or Express Install.
  2. Select an installation method. We recommend you select Express Install.

You’ll be notified in your system tray (bottom right of window) if there are new updates available to you.

If the steps mentioned above fail, this may be an indication that a bot has compromised your computer as it usually blocks access to the Microsoft Update servers. A professional technician should be contacted to remove the bot.

To determine whether your Mac operating system is up-to-date:

  1. From the Apple menu:
  1. Mac OS X v10.3 or later, choose Software Update.
  2. Mac OS X v10.2.8 or earlier, choose System Preferences. From the View menu, choose Software Update.
  1. In the Software Update window, select the items you want to install, then click Install.
  2. Enter an administrator account name and password.
  3. After the update is complete, restart the computer if one is required.

 I would like cybersecurity and computer safety information

These are a few sources for awareness over cybersecurity for individuals and companies.
Cyber Streetwise is a cross-government campaign, funded by the National Cyber Security Programme  of the United Kingdom that aims to aim to improve the online safety behaviour and confidence of consumers and small businesses (SMBs)
The jargon-free guide to computer and internet security

Max Francisco has been doing digital projects in Brazil and the US for the last 15 years.