Every business computer will have internet access, meaning there will always be some risk involved when browsing and downloading from the web. It is vital for you to know where malware and viruses can be found, as well as what the necessary measures are to protect your business’ computers. There are also many other suspicious programs you want to avoid, which may want to hijack and exploit your critical data.
Far from simply being annoying to deal with, some types of malicious programs can bring your business to a standstill. In addition to clear data breaches, some malware can impact your customers or clients. This is commonly done through identity theft and access to their bank accounts or credit cards. The severe consequences of cybercriminal activity can include the destruction of data networks, massive financial loss and reputational damage to your business.
Where can you find malware?
Malware can be encountered anywhere. Fortunately, most people are aware of general cautionary security measures. These may include not downloading suspicious email attachments or clicking on any links that come from unknown sources. Despite these being the most common ways for dangerous programs to appear, there are many other routes for malware and viruses to invade. Pirating software, movies, or music and accepting user agreement pop-ups without reading them are risky actions. Furthermore, downloading any kind of software from the internet, particularly from sites advertising “free downloads”, also carries a risk of malware.
Malware and viruses can also travel through removable media. For example, USBs and other external hard drives can transfer malicious code into computers without knowledge. Some legitimate websites can even plant tracking cookies and other relatively benign, but still undesirable items on a computer without the user realising it.
The dangers of malware
While malware and viruses have a negative impact on a computer’s performance, that isn’t the only reason why they’re harmful. We recognise common malware through error messages, computer crashes, and pop-up advertisements. However, the more troubling and targeted kind is ransomware – malware which can hold your computer and sensitive data hostage. It will then proceed to lock it up until the owner pays a fee. Sometimes infected sites will even disguise themselves as ones owned by groups like Amazon.
Other malware can essentially hijack your usernames and passwords, compromising everything from emails to online banking accounts. Tracking cookies can also be sly in their operation, invading users’ privacy to track and save internet browsing.
Protecting your business
In response to the growing dangers of malware, we believe it is vital for businesses to be equipped with the appropriate security measures. It is helpful to understand the steps you can take – specific to a working environment – to both protect your devices and the data stored.
Below we have laid out some advice to help protect your business’ computers from malware and viruses:
Removing admin rights
One of the simplest ways to protect a business computer is to remove admin rights. This means staff members won’t be able to freely download software or run .exe files. Instead, they will be required to type in the administrator username and password to authorise it. The admin account has access to all data, therefore allowing more users admin rights poses a greater security risk. The average user does not require administrative rights to run their own machine. If programs need installing, then this is something your London IT support provider should manage. This is typically done under a special administrative account which we can access remotely.
Anti-malware and anti-virus software
Having anti-malware programmes installed on your computers is also a key form of protection. However, it is just as important to keep these programs updated and active whenever the computer is connected to the internet. Regular scans are also necessary to protect the computer’s hard drive.
Be vigilant of fake antivirus programs, otherwise known as “scareware”. These malicious programs can open avenues for ransomware to attack by exploiting users’ fear of viruses. They often occur in spam emails or suspicious pop-up ads claiming to have detected malware or viruses. Do not click on these links or sites as they can extort registration fees from you and later expose your devices to real attacks. Ensure you also are keeping operating systems up to date. Many updates take care of minor security issues, in turn preventing malicious programs from entering your device.
While some types of malware can certainly be more annoying than others, it’s important to take all possible threats seriously. Some of the worst programs are the ones that you won’t even know are installed on your machines, so it is essential for you to protect against all of them. With the right protection, there’s no reason to have to worry about malware negatively impacting your computers. Their attacks can go beyond your PC’s performance, further affecting user experience and privacy.
If you work for a London business we can take care of your computer security issues for you. At totality services, our managed IT services in London provides businesses with essential packaged support and expertise needed for seamless and secure technology operations.
Simply get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.