1. Ensure Java and other software are up to date
The latest research from F-Secure found the top ranked infection to be due to outdated software with 48% of malware occurring in old versions of Java and unpatched software.
"The research found most users know to update their operating systems and browsers, however, are not updating plug-ins, such as Java and Adobe Flash plug-ins in browsers, putting privacy at serious risk," Hypponen explains.
2. Password protection
"Ensuring security passwords do not include information such as any family names, birthdays and addresses, as well as regularly updating passwords, is considered best practice for online privacy," Hypponen adds.
3. Be smart about USB ports and portable devices
F-Secure’s research showed USBs and removable drives as common vectors for spreading malware.
"However, simple precautionary measures such as not sharing portable devices between computers and running regular anti-virus software scans can help mitigate these risks," Hypponen says.
4. Download and update online security software
Hypponen believes that one of the most important ways to protect your privacy online is to ensure all mobile and PC devices are fitted with adequate and up-to-date security software.
Of the top malware infections in New Zealand, Majava topped the list in 2014, with 358 infections found per 10,000 people.
"The infection rates of these malware would be significantly reduced with appropriate anti-virus software," Hypponen advises.
5. Do not open suspicious emails or social media posts
F-Secure’s research found hackers are using new techniques when it comes to encouraging users to click on phishing links.
"As well as old techniques of sending malicious software via email through phishing links and attachments, hackers are now embedding malicious vectors through camouflaged links into users’ social media news feeds," Hypponen adds.