With most computers attached to the Internet 24-7, the threat of computer viruses and other forms of malware are always present. Even if you’ve taken precautionary measures and installed antivirus software, how sure are you that it’s doing its job to keep you safe?
Here are some simple steps to make sure you are getting the most out of your security software.
Keep Antivirus Software Updated
The only thing worse than not having antivirus software is having OUTDATED antivirus software. There are thousands of new computer viruses being developed each day. If you’ve been ignoring update notifications, you’re leaving yourself open to new cyber-attacks. When your antivirus software updates, it learns the most recently discovered threats and ways to counteract them.
Thankfully, in most cases, updating can be handled automatically. Check your antivirus software settings to turn on automatic updates. If you think that there might be a virus on your computer, most antivirus programs allow you to do an on-the-spot update to check for the latest threats.
Checking Your Antivirus Scanner
When malware gets onto your computer, one of the first things it will probably do is disable your antivirus scanner. One way to find out if your antivirus is working property, would be to simulate a ‘harmless’ virus attack.
One way to do this is with the EICAR test file. The test file is a program that was developed by the European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research and the Computer Antivirus Research Organization. Here’s how it works: just visit the EICAR website and try to download the file. Your antivirus should prevent the download and identify the “threat” as the EICAR Test File.
Other Ways to Stay Safe
Even if you have antivirus software installed and completely updated, that does not mean your computer will ever be 100% protected. It’s important for all computer users to understand the ways cybercriminals can implant malware onto a device.
Scammers can attempt to access your computer using tricks like Trojan horses, which often present as a desired program and even will operate as advertised – at first. Once enabled, however, these programs can be used to spy on you, steal your sensitive data, and gain backdoor access to your system. These can come in the form of a downloaded game, or a chain e-mail with an attachment that deposits a virus when the file opens.
Phishing is another method cybercriminals will use to gather personal information. This type of cyber-attack uses disguised email as a weapon. The goal is to trick the recipient into believing that the message is something they want or need, like an urgent request from their bank, and get them to click a link or download an attachment.
It is always important to observe caution when opening email attachments, clicking on unfamiliar links, downloading and installing programs from websites that you don’t trust. Combining this with having the latest antivirus and operating system updates will help keep computers protected from the latest threats from outside attacks. Not sure how to protect your business information? Give us a call at (904) 606-6011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on getting set up with company-wide data protection. We’re here to help!