Recent studies have shown that many antivirus packages are only about 50 per cent effective at guarding against malware (malicious software).
And some of these packages are also almost useless in preventing the growing number of ‘zero-day’ attacks.
Zero day vulnerability refers to a ‘hole’ in the software that is unknown to the software retailer or provider.
The problem is that some hackers are able to exploit this security hole before it can be fixed – causing chaos to computer networks and systems.
Thankfully, a new alternative to standard anti-virus or malware protection is now available via the Cloud.
Cloud computing houses various anti-virus providers, which offer the combined intelligence from many thousands of customers (and even other computer retailers), to help target potentially malicious activity.
This valuable knowledge provides a more ‘predictive’ form of protection – helping identify some of the most potentially lethal malware threats before they can infect your computer network or systems.
Using Cloud-based systems is an effective way to prevent the infiltration of malware or viruses on to local networks.
However, as hackers become savvier, they can infiltrate even the best-protected networks with their malware, by sending infected files over the Internet.
The frustrating thing is there are usually numerous opportunities along the way to identify and stop these attacks before they can cause problems.
However, many attackers can still stay one step ahead of current anti-virus programs by first testing their malware against them, and then reconfiguring where necessary, to ensure the attacks get through.
Therefore it is logical to eliminate threats such as malware as early as possible – to minimise the damage they can do to your systems.
Protecting your computer with a firewall, spam filters, anti-virus or anti-spyware software still remains important for computer security.
But remember to do your research on the best programs – and to update your software regularly to stay ahead of new viruses and other malware.
Surprisingly perhaps, one of the simplest and best forms of defence against security threats is employee or customer vigilance.
By educating and alerting your employees to the dangers of downloading software directly from the Internet, or via clickable links and pop ups, you prevent the problems occurring in the first place.
This same vigilance can be applied to other possible threats such as bogus emails, spyware or associated clickable links – which can spread phishing and scams.
Scams, for example, rely on cyber criminals sending ‘spam’ emails to thousands of addresses in the hope that a small percentage of recipients will respond to the email and fall for the scam.
Most modern email systems have reasonably effective spam filters to help prevent the spam appearing in your inbox.
However, it is vital that your customers or employees realise that spam emails, once identified, must be deleted before they are opened.
You should also know that spam filters may provide ‘false positives’ – meaning legitimate emails can end up with the spam in the junk mail folder.
To prevent losing these legitimate emails, remember to always check the email senders and subject lines before deleting the spam.
Another good tip is to regularly check your online accounts and bank statements to ensure no unauthorised transactions have taken place.
For more information on how to upgrade or improve your computer and network security – and to prevent malware infiltration – please contact Adam or Kerrie at Core IT on +61 8 9200 6030.
With Mike Peeters Media