How do I protect my computer from malware?

Episode 1188 (1:15:46)

Jim from Houston, TX

Jim has been watching some of Leo's podcasts and is concerned with security on his PC. What antivirus software should he use on Windows 8.1? Leo says that Microsoft ships Windows Defender for free and that's all he needs. But he should remember that an antivirus is only as good as his own behavior. What about MalwareBytes? Leo says that while Malware Bytes is effective, he can actually do more harm than good if he doesn't know what he's doing. And if his computer has been infected, he will have no idea if he actually removed all of it or not. Once he has malware on his system, the only sane option is to backup his data and reinstall Windows from a known, good source.

Here are more things Leo recommends all users do to protect themselves:

1. Stop using as an administrator. Use it as a limited user instead. Add an account as an administrator and then demote your existing account to limited user. This will stop over 90% of all the exploits out there.
2. Stop using Internet Explorer. Go with Google Chrome. It's free and far more secure.
3. Don't click on links in email.
4. Only get your software from original vendors.
5. Keep your anti virus software up to date.
6. Stop using Java
7. Use a password vault like LastPass
8. Turn on second factor authentication

He can also run Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool (start-run-mrt-enter) as a backup AVS.