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  • Writer's pictureSteven Burstyn

Protect yourself against Malware

As technology gets more advanced, so do the people who are trying to break into your systems to steal your data and ultimately your identity. There are several things you can do to make sure you and your data are protected against these devastating attacks. Some of these items are things you need to be aware of as you go online, and some are things that Unfrustrating Computers does for clients on a regular basis.

1 – Use only a trusted Anti-Virus and Malware Scanner.

Scanning your computers for viruses and malware is one of the main services we provide to our ongoing clients. We use Bitdefender Endpoint Security Tools, which is one of the leading names in the field of anti-virus and malware. When we install Bitdefender on your computer, you can proceed with your day knowing that you have a solid foundation or protection for all your computers.

2 – Configure Regular Scans and Monitoring.

While Bitdefender will catch the vast majority of threats, there is always a slight possibility that a new threat that is not yet recognized can get through. There is also the chance that you already had some form of malware on your computer when we installed the software in the first place. Having a robust anti-virus and malware scanner on your computer is a great first step, you also need to regularly scan your data and monitor your systems to ensure nothing broke through your defenses. Scanning and monitoring are also services we regularly provide to our clients.

3 – Keep your Operating System Up to Date

You want to keep your operating system up to date. This does not mean you have to implement a new OS or every new patch as soon as they come out. As a function of monitoring your computer, we also review all updates and patches as they are released. Some patches are product updates and improvements. These patches are not always vital and can be delayed to ensure they do not cause any issues before implementation. Other patches are security updates that should be installed as soon as possible. We will make the determination, so you don’t have to. With Unfrustrating Computers, your computer will always have the latest security updates. Other optional updates will be released once they are shown to be safe.

4 – Use only Secure and Encrypted Networks

Keeping your computer safe is one thing but keeping your network safe is another thing altogether. As soon as you are transferring data from one machine to another, your data can be seen and even stolen right off the networking cables or even from data transmitted through wifi. Secure networking is a vital part of data security, especially now with so many people working remotely.

5 – Stay Safe Online

Whatever city or town you live in, there are areas where you do not want to go when the sun goes down. For your own safety, you avoid the places you know can be dangerous. When you are online, there are also places you should avoid. Many people think the heyday of file sharing and downloading apps, games, and movies are behind us. The truth is that illegal file-sharing is still very prevalent and it is one of the riskiest things you can do online. The websites that host illegally shared files are usually loaded with viruses and just visiting these websites can put your computer and information at risk. Even if the site is not infested, you have no idea if the file you are downloading is a copy of the original or if the file is a fake and contains a trojan horse that surreptitiously installs malware on your computer, and you may not even know until it is too late.

Be smart. Stay away from these unsafe websites and do not share things that should not be shared.

6 – Be Careful with Email

It is common for scammers to hack into email, especially public email systems like Gmail, get your contact list and send an email that is spoofed to look like it is coming from you. If you receive an email from someone you know that doesn’t fit that person’s history then the best bet is to delete the email and call the person to see if they sent the email. If you have a work acquaintance or even a family member that all of a sudden is sending you an email to go online to buy cheap knock-off pharmaceuticals, then the chances are that the email account has been hacked and the email is fake. Don’t open an email or an attachment from any email sent to you from someone you don’t know or from someone you know but doesn’t match your historical interactions with that person.

Another way email can be dangerous is if you receive an email that looks like it can be from your bank. In the same way you should never give personal information over the phone on any call you did not initiate, you should not trust any links sent you through email that you are not expecting. We did a blog post on how you can tell if an email is fake. Just to be safe, if you receive an email you were not expecting telling you to log in due to a problem or to verify your personal information, do not click on any link in the email. Go to a new browser window and log directly into your account to see if the bank is requiring any information from you. If they are, you will also see a notice in your account. You can also get on the phone and call a known phone number for your bank, such as the number on the back of your credit or debit card.

There are things Unfrustrating Computers can do to keep you and your data safe. Others are things you need to be made aware of and act accordingly when you are online. If you have any questions or want Unfrustrating Computers to keep you safe, give us a call at 516-679-5540.

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