If your computer recently got infected and you paid to get it cleaned up or restored from a backup, this article was written just for you!
Fixing avoidable problems is not “fun”
Contrary to what many might believe, most IT people don’t enjoy or look forward to fixing broken computers. Since we don’t live in that perfect utopia and things do break on occasion and systems get compromised, the intention of this article is to help you avoid some of these issues in the future.
Information Security is Challenge
There are so many threats that face you as a user (Factoid: There are 43 posts on this site that use the Security category and that is practically all we share on our Facebook page these days!). In spite of what often appears to be a swell (Tsunami?) of threats, there are certainly things that you can do to protect yourself.
Step 1 – Admit that you have a
If your computer got infected it was due to a problem. The most likely three scenarios are:
- Critical security updates were not installed.
- You believe your Antivirus software will protect you.
were carelessgave the bad guys the opportunity.
Step 2 – Don’t beat yourself up
Many users find themselves in your shoes. None of us are perfect and the fact that you are still reading this you can pat yourself on the back for working to improve the situation. An opportunity has presented itself, you now have added motivation to take some important precautions and raise your awareness.
Step 3 – Make sure you are installing security updates
In April of 2010 we shared with our readers why it is important to install Security updates. In that post we recommended that you should always install the following updates as soon as you can whenever prompted:
- Windows Critical Updates
- Adobe Acrobat
- Flash Viewer
- Oracle/Sun Java
It takes a while to learn what all these updates look like, but generally speaking they remain fairly consistent so once you do learn what to look out for you only need to validate it when it changes. Don’t let the fear of the updates being part of the problem stop you. It is greatly beneficial to take the time to learn to recognize the “normal” updates and apply them when prompted. It could save you from getting your computer infected.
Step 4 – Know your Antivirus Software Limits
Have you ever heard the term Zero Day? Zero day is something brand new and you often hear it combined with exploits: “Zero Day Exploits”. Since Antivirus and Anti-Malware software work off definitions (there is also heuristics or virus like characteristics but it is not perfect) it is only good if the virus or malware that you happen to get exposed to is well defined in your Antivirus/Malware Software. In other words, there are plenty of things that will infect your computer if you click them, particularly “new” viruses and malware. Remember Viruses are written to try to avoid being detected.
Your antivirus software won’t always protect you.
Learn how to protect yourself from Zero Day Exploits.
Step 5 – Understand the importance of your role in your security
It is not a security that without users computer viruses as we know them today would not exist. It is important to recognize that you can make a difference and to take an active role in avoiding infection by the choices you make. We covered this thoroughly in our post about the role of personal choices in information security. In that article we shared 5 areas where choices had a substantial impact on your security including:
- Hardware and Networking Devices
- Security Software
- Gullibility and Greed
It’s no secret that virus and malware authors exploit us, our weaknesses, events, and a myriad of other things to compromise us. Make sure your personal choices aren’t giving them extra opportunities.
Step 6 – Subscribe to Our Updates
Opportunity Center Image credit: Jason Tester, Guerilla Futures