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Security Threats and Your Computer

Is 100% virus prevention possible?

Safe Internet use should be a number one priority for businesses to maintain productivity and to reduce downtime.

In an era where business computer users increasingly depend on the Internet to conduct all manner of business, business owners need to ensure that network vulnerabilities can be reduced and downtime can be kept to a minimum. While there are various software and hardware solutions available to limit the opportunities for virus or malware to infect business systems, no method ensures 100% protection. Currently, malware developers produce malicious programs at a faster rate than most antivirus programs can update their databases; because of this, the best method of limiting infections, is proactive risk minimization combined with hardware and software tools.

With over 30 million new strains of malware identified in 2013, the greatest asset in safeguarding any business from malicious software is knowledge of how and where these points of infection occur. Most commonly, these points of contact occur visiting what might seem to be “legitimate” websites using outdate software (browsers etc.). Since software updates are sometimes used to repair security flaws, systems running older versions are more susceptible to incoming attacks. Other sources of infection occur from opening or running programs (especially .exe files) from non-verified distributers and publishers. These would most likely appear in the form of suspicious email attachments or fake download links and popups on various websites. By recognizing the different forms malware can take, individuals and organizations can drastically decrease their infection rate.

The majority of all infections that are detected are Trojan horses, which are used by attackers to steal sensitive data or to facilitate the installation of other kinds of malware. Therefore protection against Trojans is of highest priority in counteracting the effects of malware.

The following preventative steps should be taken for any business:

  • Ad blockers should be used when browsing the internet to reduce the chance of accidentally installing malicious software from popups.
  • An effective spam blocker for your corporate mail service will not only remove unsolicited advertisements, but reduce the risk that malware or key logger software will compromise employee email accounts and computers.
  • Data should be backed up often and thoroughly; this will limit down time should malware cause wide spread system failures.
  • Avoid using programs that were downloaded from unknown publishers or applications that do not have a digital signature.
  • Keep your computer up-to-date to allow previously detected exploits to be patched
  • Never download or run unknown executable files (.exe) without confirming the origin and purpose

Furthermore, using software and hardware tools recommended by IT professionals will ensure that your network will remain safe and functioning when you need it.

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