A padlock over a computer panel to show security

Know Your Enemy

Computer viruses: they’re annoying spammy, and seemingly everywhere you go online. You’ve probably dealt with computer viruses in the past, but what steps have you taken to protect your company from malware attacks? Malware attacks are common, and one of the biggest threats to your business security.

Malware is designed to steal sensitive information, log your keystrokes, slow down your Internet connection, and use your computer as a server to spam others. The consequences of an attack could be devastating to your business. This is especially true if hackers steal sensitive login, password, and account information. Malware comes in a variety forms, including adware, spyware, Trojan horses, and worms. This is important to keep in mind, because if you’re spreading your safeguards across multiple products, you’re leaving holes in your network security. Follow these steps to ensure you protect your company from malware attacks.

Take Preventative Measures

Daily interaction on the web is an unavoidable part of modern business. With all of the email exchanges and file sharing, you’re guaranteed to run into malicious software now and again.

Have your IT department conduct a security audit to identify areas of potential weakness, and patch up any holes in your firewall. Avoiding common Internet traps will also go a long way in preventing a security breach. Email attachments are one very common place for malware to hide. Never open an email that has a suspicious subject line or email address you don’t recognize.

What are the Signs of a Malware Attack

Slow Computer. Does your computer take forever to start-up? Not quite performing the way you expect? The most obvious sign that your computer is infected with malware is a slow running computer. This is because malware installs itself on your computer and runs programs in the background causing major slowdowns and headaches.

The Dreaded Pop-Ups. One of the most obvious signs that your network is under attack are pop-up windows. One mouse click can lead to a dozen or more floating pop-ups, mouse-over ads, or mass attack ads. The good news is that most webs browsers have built-in blockers and cleanup tools to help detect and remove malicious programs.

Browser Hijacking. If you fire up your browser and notice a new homepage, toolbars, or extensions, you might be under attack. Scammers use malicious software to take control of your browser and change how and what it displays. These “black hat” tactics bombard you with unwanted websites and ads – the goal being to increase revenue by forcing ad clicks.

Disabled Maintenance Programs. When Malware infects your computer, it will often protect itself by disabling programs that would normally detect, isolate, and remove it. So if you notice that programs like system restore, task manager, finder, and windows update fail to work, that could signal a security breach.

Build Up Your Defenses

Prevent future breaches by scheduling regular system maintenance checks. Make sure to enable the pop-up blocker and cleanup tools in your browser. Arm yourself with firewall and antivirus software on all computers, and make sure that you pay attention to notifications. And while they may seem like an interruption, software updates often fix security issues that would otherwise leave you vulnerable to malware attacks, so be sure to keep them up to date as well.

While many viruses feel like a nuisance more than anything else, a serious attack could do irreparable harm to your business. This could include not only the loss of your own company data, but your customers private information as well. So when you protect your company from malware attacks, you protect your customers as well.

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