Century IT blog

Protecting Yourself Online

July 1st, 2014

 

How does a Virus get on my Computer?I.T Support Southampton

There are numerous ways a virus could get on your computer, in the ‘old days’ viruses were traditionally propagated via floppy disk.
The reality was you needed to put an infected floppy disk into your computer to get a virus, not a very quick or efficient way to spread a virus by todays standards, nonetheless computers did get infected by a variety of different types of viruses.

 

In the ‘old days’ we think computer viruses were generally not as malicious as they are nowadays.

 

 

I.T Support Southampton HampshireTodays World

The landscape has certainly changed from the stereotypical teenager in their bedroom to today’s well organised, well financed criminal gangs that are typically looking to extort money, strip your bank accounts, ‘max out’ your credit card or commit some kind of fraud or identity theft.

 

Country boundaries pose no obstacle to these types of thieves, you can literally be mugged by a person from a country on the opposite side of the world.

 

In our experience local police are (unfortunately) not necessarily interested in this type of crime, especially ones that span international borders or even country borders, unless they are well publicised or ones which put the country at risk.
We think this is why internet fraud is so common and widespread nowadays and if someone /organisation were convicted, is it likely the punishment would be severe enough to deter future crimes? (Probably Not!!)

 

Financial Loss

In our experience it is fairly safe to not expect your money to ever be recovered if you fall foul of an internet crime, there are of course exceptions to this statement
But you can in the very least expect to lose your money and perhaps more money unless you take immediate and decisive action, changing your passwords, contacting your bank or card provider and scanning your computer for viruses and spyware.

 

email delivery, email systems‘Dodgy Websites’

People often have a misconception that you need to visit a ‘dodgy website’ to get a viruses and whilst this can be an sure fire way to get a virus, most viruses, malware and spyware gets onto your computer through SPAM emails or their attachments or ordinary websites which have been infected, been hijacked or had malicious code injected into the website.
Imagine if you were a virus writer and you wanted to quickly disseminate your virus onto as many computers as possible, would you setup an obscure website which no one knows about and no one ever visits to spread your viruses? Or would you try a quicker way?

 

 

Rauch, Smoke

What about me?

In today’s technological world viruses and spyware are generally spread by a variety of methods, too numerous to list here, but in summary:-

 

Drive by

20,000 Laptops are lost or stolen every year

20,000 Laptops are lost or stolen every year

Infection of a computer with Malware when a user visits an infected or malicious website.

Email Attachment
Email Malware refers to malware that is distributed via email attachment, these can be an obvious .exe file, .zip file, HTML or PDF attachment,

Phishing
Be suspicious of emails that include links or URLs.

Malware
Only download and install officially approved or sanction applications on to your computer. Supposed free applications can be bundled with ‘other’ software.

 

 

Download our favourite Sophos PDF ‘Threatsaurus The A-Z of computer and data security threats’ Here

 

What can I do to limit my risk?

There is no one thing you can do that will protect your business from viruses, spyware or financial loss.
When trying to secure your business, a holistic approach to security is best, you should try and visualise I.T security as ever decreasing concentric rings around your business, using this logic and providing your I.T Strategy works, you could limit any potential security issues to just one of the layers of defence, thereby limiting damage or loss.

 

All aspects of Security should be considered.

 

Firewall
Start at your firewall. For example, is your firewall old or outdated, perhaps running old or outdated firmware? In our opinion this is just as bad as having antivirus software that is never updated. Are there open ports which are not used nowadays?

Does your firewall meet your current needs? Perhaps you should be looking at one which could give you some level of reporting, i.e. internet usage, web site blocking, email filtering

 

Anti-Virus Software
Do you have a comprehensive Endpoint Security system or just a plain old antivirus program? There is a difference and it could mean the difference between financial ruin and continuance.

Modern Endpoint Security will include software to protect your workstations/laptops against virus and spyware although modern technology will also protect you from Malicious or Infected websites but simply stopping you from going to these website

 

Computer Endpoints
1) Adobe Reader should be latest version and updatesMouseEmer-small
2) Adobe Flash update to latest version
3) Microsoft Windows Updates – ensure latest service packs
4) Microsoft Office Updates – ensure latest service packs
5) Java Updated to latest build
6) Educate your staff  to use caution on opening attachments, even from people you know
7) Install the recommended bank security software.

8) Change your passwords often

9) Ensure your mobile devices (phones/tablets) are secure by a pin

10) Ensure your mobile devices are running the latest version of operating system

11) Run regular Anti-Virus scans of the computers

 

 

Out of the Box InstallationsiStock_000000724891Small

One of the most common errors we see in the field is that customers think they have sufficient enough security and Anti-Virus software, although these are generally installed by a so-called ‘expert’ and unfortunately the reality is the software or hardware is what we would call in the industry as ‘Out of the box install’

 

Out of the box installations rarely work correctly

 

Out of the box installations rarely work correctly or provide the right level of protection. When it comes to your business, you should look for an expert in the field otherwise you a lulled into a false sense of security and likely to be one of the first companies hit during a virus outbreak.

 

File Servers
What is the story with your file servers, are they up to date and fully patched? Would you know if someone was trying to hack into your servers? Are your servers Proactively Monitored?

What about file security? Do all of your employees have access to everything or do you have restrictions based on department, or job role? If an employee was hit by a virus, would they only be able to damage a small part of your systems or would it wipe out all of your data?

 

Wifi
Is your Wi-Fi access points up to date? Are you using modern technology or out of date and insecure equipment? When was the last time you changed your Wi-Fi password?

 

Staff Training
Do you educate your staff or give them training on I.T security, email and Internet usage? Would your staff have the necessary skills to avert a disaster? Or would they open every SPAM email and click on every URL link that came in via email?

 

 

Business Continuity

What if the worst happened and you had a complete loss of your I.T systems?

Do you have a trusted I.T Partner who would be willing to get you up and working in the shortest possible time?

Do you have a Business Continuity Plan that is written down and understood by each department of your business? Do key staff now what is expected of them in this type of emergency?

Business Continuity is a broad subject, if you have questions regarding your Business Continuity Plans give us a call to discuss further.

 

 

If you have concerns with your I.T Security or have any questions about your network give us a call. We are experts in just about anything I.T
Century IT Services are based in Totton, Southampton. Hampshire and can help you with the installation or on going I.T support of your computer, server and network. We offer a broad range of I.T services covering, internet, email, anti-spam, anti-virus solutions, we are experts in virtually anything Microsoft Server based and have extensive troubleshooting skills.

 

If you have an ever growing list of I.T niggles or need a server, or network installed, you have come to the right place. You can contact us on Tel. 023 80 070101 or email us at sales@century-it.co.uk for a confidential, no obligation discussion of your requirements

 

 

Sources
www.sophos.com
www.symantec.com