School IT Blog

How to Protect Yourself from Malware

Wed 08 May, 2019

You’ve finally set up your computer and your network. Everything is exactly as it should be when, suddenly, things go wrong. Files are inaccessible, programs are unresponsive, data is deleted. It’s your worst fear; you’ve got a virus.

This blog will walk you through how to avoid this nightmare scenario, and provide you with some key malware prevention tips for your school.


Install a firewall

The most basic and important defence for your network is undoubtedly a firewall. You’ve probably heard the term before, most likely uttered by hackers in an action film. Essentially, a firewall is a doorman. Certain network traffic is on the guest list and can travel freely, but some malicious, or suspicious, traffic is blocked. This helps to let the good stuff in and keep the bad stuff (viruses, hackers, etc) out.


Ensure you have anti-malware software in place and up-to-date

Anti-malware software is fairly self-explanatory. Once you’ve installed it, it identifies and eliminates anything malicious that could compromise your security. The best software programmes are those that are always scanning websites and links, so you never even get near to anything that could be a threat. TechRadar recommends Bitdefender as the most effective option for anti-malware software because it does just this.

It is also important that your software is up-to-date. Malware is constantly changing and the defence needs to change accordingly. Anti-malware software will ideally be constantly updating and it’s important that you keep up.


Strong passwords

This is another basic defence, but it's just as crucial as the rest on this list. Your passwords should be random, with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Anything too personal or obvious risks threatening your security.

This also means that you should not use the same password for multiple things: each password should be completely unique. Otherwise, you threaten the entire network with just one password. To be doubly secure, it’s also best to change these passwords frequently.


Secure your wireless network

An unsecured wireless network is an invite for bad intentions. Firstly, your network could be used for illegal activity, as this would be far harder to trace on public Wi-Fi. Secondly, hackers can easily intercept your unsecured data, including any login details, images, documents, and any data your school may have. Considering the delicate nature of schools’ information regarding children, an unsecured network is an inexcusable failure.

Crucially for this blog, an unsecured network also encourages malware and viruses. Individuals with less-than-good intentions can spread malware quickly, simply, widely, and effectively without a secure network to keep them out.


Familiarise yourself with what an attack looks like

Let’s assume the worst happens, and some malware does slip through your defences. The most important step is recognising that it has happened before it can do any further damage.

Attacks come in many shapes and sizes, but some of the common symptoms include computers freezing, a lack of hard drive space, computer programs being slower or not responding at all, pop-ups, and a general lack of control over what your computer is doing.

If you suspect you have an attack, download a good anti-Malware program (such as the aforementioned Bitdefender) or contact your IT support as soon as possible.


Through these malware prevention tips, you can help to keep your school system as secure as possible. Many of these are easy to implement, yet crucial to your safety. It’s a dangerous world out there, but it doesn’t need to be.


For more information about how to keep your school protected from malware, get in touch with our team today.