Viruses and Malware can cause huge losses of revenue and productivity in the workplace. Through implementing the use of strong antivirus software, update installation policies, good browsing habits and a bit of common sense you can limit your employees risk of infecting computers in your company.
At ABN we can help you implement an antivirus and antimalware policy limiting your vulnerability to viruses and malware in you organization. In the event of an infection we can help you remove malicious software from your computers.
What are viruses and malware?
Viruses and Malware comes in many varieties. Some will send out malicious emails from your computer, send you to websites you aren’t trying to go to, bring up fake security warnings on your screen, or a myriad of other possibilities none of which are good for you or your computer.
Computer viruses are small software programs that are designed to spread from one computer to another and to interfere with computer operation.
Computer viruses are often spread by attachments in email messages or instant messaging messages. That is why it is essential that you never open email attachments unless you know who it’s from and you are expecting it. Viruses can also be disguised as attachments of funny images, greeting cards, or audio and video files.
Malware is short for “malicious software.” Malware is any kind of unwanted software that is installed without your adequate consent. Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses are examples of malicious software that are often grouped together and referred to as malware.
Good Practices – Prevention of viruses and malware
There is no such thing as 100% protection from viruses and malware from infecting your machines if you are utilizing the internet and email. But by following some good practices you can limit your risk of infection to viruses and malware.
Every pc should have antivirus software installed and activated on it. Most computers will come with a trial version of an antivirus product on it but unless you activate it and pay for a subscription the virus definitions and the software will not be updated leaving you vulnerable to new threats.
Do not click on hyperlinks in an email unless you are expecting the email or it is personalized to you. A message from a friend, relative or colleague should have some personal content not just “hey, check this out” and a link. If you get something like this and you’re not sure about it, give the person a quick call or send them a message asking if they were really sending this to you before opening it.
Spoofed messages appear to be from either your company (typically a device like scanner or accounting or another department) or another organization like the IRS, FedEx or financial institution for example with a hyperlink or attachment trying to trick you into opening it. Messages like these should be deleted. If you feel you need to check the status on one of them call them or open a browser and go directly to their website to logon instead of clicking on a link in the email.
Google and other search engines can be tricked into false results. Links on a webpage can redirect you to a page you are not expecting. Websites can also be hacked and by visiting the site your computer can become infected. With all the threats out there it almost seems we’d be better off going back to books for information but that is not going to get your work done. We all need access to resources on the internet and that is not going to change anytime soon.
- Be careful of typos when typing a website address. There are malicious sites setup that have misspellings of common sites.
- When using a search engine read the description and look at the site name before clicking on the link to see if it is what you are looking for.
- Stay away from searching for things like free music, free screensavers as these are most likely going to take you to malicious websites.
- When looking for information on current events and news start with local and national news sites.
- When looking up information on businesses sites such as yelp, travelocity, the yellow pages and other review sites are a good place to start. Social networking sites are commonly being used by businesses now as well and can have direct links to the company’s website and contact information.
- Looking up information on people can be dangerous. Sites that offer free public records lookups are most likely malicious.
The old adage the best things in life are free can have undesired consequences when downloading free software, music, screensavers, etc. on the internet.
Even free programs like the Adobe Reader and Google Chrome can come bundled with third party software that can reduce the performance of your machine. Adobe and Google aren’t going to install malicious software onto your pc but the additional toolbars, etc. can cause undesired results like changing your search engine and home page.
- Only download software on the internet from reputable sites.
- Only download what you absolutely need to perform your job and daily tasks.
- Read reviews and comments on the software prior to installation verifying that it is what you need.
- Read through the installation screens removing additional software, toolbars, etc. from the installation.