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Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world
Digital skills: succeeding in a digital world

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2.1 Protecting yourself from viruses and malware

Image of a red key on a keyboard of white keys. Red key has image of a bug on it.
Figure 1 Viruses and malware

Viruses and malware are pieces of computer code that gain access to your computer system, often without your knowledge. They are designed to corrupt or destroy data on your device. This might sound quite terrifying, but there are simple steps you can take to prevent this from happening.

To combat cybercrime and prevent harm to your computer, it is sensible to ensure that you have a firewall in place. A firewall is a piece of software that prevents any unauthorised access to your computer system. It will alert you if it thinks a program or person is trying to access your data without your permission. Most computer systems come with a firewall built in, but you may decide to buy your own.

Antivirus software can detect any existing threats from viruses and malware and will attempt to isolate or destroy them. It can also block any potential threats. New viruses emerge over time, and the software works on lists which are updated on a regular basis. It’s important to keep your antivirus software up to date.