By: Robert Rummel, Customer Care Advocate
Many computer users believe free antivirus software, like those provided by computer manufacturers or your ISP, are strong enough to protect you from viruses or spyware infection. Unfortunately, most free programs do not provide enough protection from the constantly growing list of threats. By installing a trusted professional grade antivirus program on your PC, you are protecting yourself from a greater range of threats. Professional grade programs have more tools and features available. They also update much more frequently to keep up with the ever changing and growing viral threats.
Scanning daily with a professional antivirus software will help keep most of the infections at bay. The incredible number of constant and new threats means sometimes something may get through your protection or someone may accidentally open an infected file. By keeping your software up to date and scanning daily you can limit these intrusions as well as isolating infections that may have gotten through.
Most professional grade software will include browser plugins to aid in protection. These added features should be enabled unless, on some occasions, they interfere with normal browsing. This would also include pop up blockers like the ones included in Firefox, Internet Explorer or the Google tool bar. These features can prevent an attack from an infected website or prevent phishing attacks. The user must also take some initiative and be aware of the what sites and how they have arrived.
Clicking on links and attachments in emails, even from people you trust may lead you to an attack. When sent a hyperlink try to open the page manually through your browser. An infected hyperlink may take you to a page that looks similar and catch you off guard. A good practice is not to enter any personal information, financial or any other sensitive information on a page you have not navigated to manually. Attachments from emails can infect your network within minutes. Simply by clicking on them you have bypassed all the security you may have in place to protect yourself. Most professional anti-virus/malware programs will have a function to scan attachments. If an email looks suspicious or unexpected, such as that from a colleague, taking a minute to confirm with that person that they sent it will save you hours of grief.
Some email viruses can be executed simply by having a graphics code embedded. If you were to have Outlook preview enabled, you could activate it by simply going through your emails. Newer versions of Outlook do not display images automatically, but this can be changed in the settings. You shouldn’t have anything set to automatically download to protect your computer.
In a network environment another added feature is that of a hardware firewall. Local software firewalls can be disabled by the user when it conflicts with an action they feel is safe. A managed hardware firewall cannot simply be turned off by an uninformed user. They also protect from a wide variety of exploits, malicious network traffic, viruses, worms, and other vulnerabilities before they get to your computer or network. They can be programmed with many added security features not available through a simple software solution. Such as web filtering, VPN, bandwidth monitoring, and other security protocols.
Today, with social media, threats spread faster than ever before. Computer users must be vigilant and proactive in the way they approach the internet and their computer habits.
In addition to anti-virus protection, we can also help train your associates to spot phishing attempts and dangerous sites. Learn more about Security Awareness Training
If you have any questions or need support, please contact your CCC Account Executive or call our 100% U.S.-based Customer Care Team at 877-282-9227 anytime, day or night.