As technology evolves, so do the methods by which your information can become corrupt, exposed, and otherwise hacked. Standard antivirus programs must be constantly updated in order to be effective at combating new variations of similarly known security issues. While ads are still a prevalent source of these adaptive viruses, email attacks and computer viruses are posing a greater risk to individuals and corporations alike.
In the past year alone, over $24 million was stolen by just one type of email virus, called ransomware, which locks certain files until the user pays the “ransom” to the hacker. These and many other forms of viruses are able to infiltrate their way into a user’s computer typically through email by posing as a known user or other highly trusted and authoritative source. They are often indistinguishable from normal, everyday correspondences. The cost to shut down a company’s entire server and the delay caused by slow computers due to a virus for even a few hours or days can be catastrophic. Below are a set of guidelines to help avoid computer viruses and increase the longevity of your computer’s lifespan.
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Enhance your spam filters
Data thieves have been known to mimic email addresses for years and have recently started to narrow their focus on specific targets. Through manipulation of the SPF, or Sender Policy Framework, and an operational mailing server, hackers can duplicate a user’s appearance in an inbox down to the profile picture. The reason these emails continue to get through in such large quantities is that many companies have not upgraded to the newer DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) for their domains. This recent advancement in cyber security works with the already existing SPF and automatically flags emails and directs them appropriately without ever reaching the intended recipient.
Inspect your emails
If you receive an email and something just doesn’t seem right, sometimes the only way to know for sure is if you check the source code. There will be a line which indicates that your domain did not match the domain of the sender. If so inclined, you can also go so far as to locate the origin of the fake email. These and the aforementioned data thieves utilize a technique called ‘spoofing’. It is now their preferred method as major companies are slow to update their servers' security measures to provide the proper amount of protection against this type of attack.
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Keep backups of the most important information secure
Cyber attacks will oftentimes make many programs unusable and will occupy enormous amounts of space on the hard drive, resulting in slow computers. In order to avoid having to replace each infected computer, which could run into the thousands depending on the size of your company, simply keep a backup of the most important programs and folders. This way an IT professional can perform either a hard or soft reset, restoring your company’s slow computers back to their original condition without losing any important data or programs in the process.
The most common cause of an attack on a specific business is due to its inability to build the proper security infrastructure. As more business is being conducted in the cloud, it’s important that your antivirus systems are present there as well. The short-term cost to invest in these safeguards will help ensure that your company does not fall victim to the cyberthreats, by eliminating them altogether from reaching the intended target.