Is the only way to get a virus by downloading a file? Or can you be infected by merely visiting a website?
Do you have to download a file to get a virus on your computer? Unfortunately the answer is no.
The common misconception is the only way to be infected by a virus is by downloading and opening a file. Unfortunately this is not the case. The mere act of visiting a website can install a malicious virus on your computer, even without your knowledge.
Even trusted websites which have been exploited by malicious attackers can install a virus on your computer without you downloading and opening a file. The adverts provided by third party advertising promoters can also contain malicious code, without the websites consent or even knowledge. Many people look for subjects such as how to hack facebook and end up finding malicious code even within advertising.
So you don’t have to download a file to get a virus on your computer, but what can do you to protect yourself from such threats? First of all keep your operating system updated. The likelihood is you have Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 installed. If you enable automatic updates (through the security centre in the control panel) Windows will automatically update your system to increase its security.
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Another key point is to use a secure and updated browser. The common consensus is Internet Explorer (the default browser provided with Windows) is unsecure. Even using an updated Internet Explorer can leave you vulnerable to getting a virus without downloading a file. I suggest using Mozilla Firefox, not only is it secure but it constantly alerts you to security updates automatically.
You can take extra precautions to avoid getting a virus without downloading a file, by using advert blocking add-ons such as ‘Adblock Plus’. You could also consider using the ‘Noscript’ add-on for Firefox which disables scripts from un-trusted sources.
Unfortunately it is possible to get a virus even without downloading a file, but luckily a few quick and easy precautions can help keep you safe. Remember a virus scan is only as good as the day you update it and allow programs to update themselves. Be safe out there.