Ramón Varela | Staff Writer and Photographer

Malware could be hiding in your computer and you may not even know it. Malware is a type of malicious program that can harm your computer, like a virus. It can be disguised as an executable code, scripts and other type of software. There are some common ways to be able to prevent certain malware from installing into your computer.

A way to make sure your computer is not infected is by installing an anti-virus software. Installing an anti-virus software will scan, detect, and remove malicious software. Go for a trusted anti-virus software and not software that may trick you into thinking it is a true software.

Your computer may come with an anti-virus software of its own, but how good is the software? You can never be too careful. If that is the issue, it would be highly recommended to purchase an anti-virus software, or maybe even go for a different free software that others recommend or trust.

Remembering passwords can be a drag but using the same password for everything you log into can be risky. It is best to use different passwords for every website you use to log into. A way to prevent using the same password is writing it onto a piece of paper and storing it somewhere secluded or even in a safe.

To make your password strong try using special characters such as “!@#$%^&*()”. Use numbers in your password and capitalize certain characters. An example of what that would look like could be: P@$$w0rd!1. A minimum of 10 characters is recommended.

The less characters you have, the easier it could be for hackers to crack, or even someone looking over your shoulder. For more security, delete your browser history and never use the option to “save password” when given the option to.

Always be aware about what you receive and click on. This is called “phishing.” That “link” you received may not be what it seems. If this link was sent from a friend, make sure to ask if they meant to send it. If it was sent from someone else, do a little research to see if it is a true link or not.

Make sure that when you are on a website to never click on a pop-up that looks suspicious. For example, the word “free” may be included in that pop-up. That should be a red flag to not click on it.

Do an image back-up to your physical hard drive. This can help revert to whenever you made the back-up. If you were not careful enough and had some type of malicious software installed, this could be your ticket out. Once you have a new computer you should immediately make an image back-up.

Backing up your data is essential. This could help if your hard drive ever gets corrupted, lost, or stolen. Unless you are only using online based data, then you may have nothing to worry about, but may want to consider backing it up anyway.

These are just some basic steps that can help your computer live a longer life, rather than waiting for it to become slow and then buying a new one. If you still do not understand, then it will be best if you got a friend, colleague, or bringing your computer back where you bought it from, if you got warranty, and have them solve the problem. You will get that satisfaction if you learn to protect your computer. It will also help you know what to do the next time your computer has a problem.