Protect yourself
Kia pare i a koe ki ngā pūmanawa kino

Protect yourself against malware

There are some basic security steps you can take to avoid malware – malicious software designed to damage or harm a device.

Preventing a malware attack

Malware is malicious software that's designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorised access to a device.

Learn more about malware

The good news is malware’s much easier to avoid than it is to fix. Here’s what you can do to reduce the likelihood of a malware infection on your computer.

Update your devices

Always update your operating system and your apps when new versions are available. You can often set this up to happen automatically.

Keep up with your updates

Enable or install an antivirus

Install antivirus software on your computer if you don’t already have it, and update it regularly. Scan for viruses regularly and clean up any infections straight away.

If your computer is on Windows, it should already have an antivirus called Windows Defender installed. Make sure it's enabled and scan for viruses regularly. You'll also need to make sure you keep it updated.

Be careful when sharing information and devices

Take care when sharing portable devices like USBs, and don’t click on web links sent by someone you don’t know – or that seem out of character for someone you do know. If you’re not sure about a link someone's shared with you, contact the person who sent it to check it before you do anything with it.

Take care on public WiFi networks

Be cautious when connecting your devices to untrusted networks – like free public WiFi networks or hotspots, for example. They're often not secure, and could leave you exposed to an attack.

Back up your devices

Make sure you back up your files regularly. This includes the files on your computer, your phone, and any other devices you have. You can either:

  • get an external hard drive and do an 'offline' or 'cold' backup, or
  • sign up to a cloud-based service like Dropbox and do a cloud backup.

Backing up your data and devices

Get help

If you think your computer’s infected with malware, talk to your IT support person or a local computer services company. They can:

  • diagnose malware on your computer
  • get rid of it for you
  • restore your system
  • advise you on security
  • install security protection for you
  • show you how to keep your systems up to date.

There are a lot of free antivirus, antispam and antispyware products on the market. Not all of them are legitimate though, so it’s important to discuss your options with an IT professional before installing one on your computer yourself. They can help you work out what product’s best for your needs.

Report the issue to CERT NZ

You can also report an online issue or security incident like this to us at CERT NZ.

Get help now