If users frequent a social network, a Web browser, a public computer, or a cell phone, beware: their PC, bank account and personal privacy are at risk. Network worms. Phishing e-mail. Drive-by downloads. Data sniffed from an open wireless network. To use a computer safely in the 21st century, users have to be prepared to combat a growing number of constantly evolving security threats.
“For every potential pitfall that malware hunters expose and neutralise, there seem to be five more waiting for a careless PC user to plummet into. Knowledge is power. Failing to take precautions against the current wave of threats is akin to driving cross-country without a spare tyre: you might get away with it, but setting off unprepared for trouble can be expensive and very inconvenient if your luck runs out.
“Security software’s job is to anticipate and evade a vast array of cleverly devised booby traps meant to catch the unwary, and is as essential to any computer user as a spare tyre is to the driver of a car,” says Lutz Blaeser, MD of Intact Security.
This is especially true of businesses, which are increasingly under attack. Blaeser explains that IT departments have so much to keep track of – antivirus, anti-phishing, anti-spam and file backup – that finding a security solution that will do it all is the best way to keep ahead of the threats out there.
“Avira’s range of business solutions will do it all, and do it fast and quietly in the background, by providing comprehensive protection with tools that detect and prevent any threats from reaching a user’s PC. The System Scanner detects all the viruses, worms and Trojans while the other tools filter out unwanted and phishing e-mails, block hacker attempts to take over a computer and protect against identity theft.”
In addition, the software stops users from landing on malicious sites, blocks software downloads while surfing and boasts a powerful firewall to add an extra layer of defence against intrusions. This combination of features provides protection for a solid security combo that offers complete peace of mind.
However, even the best security measures are not enough if the company’s computer users fall prey to common threats such as social engineering. Education is therefore vital.
“The most dangerous crooks use clever marketing to get you to do their dirty work for them and infect your own PC. Lots of social engineering attacks are laughably crude, with misspelled words and clumsy grammar, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the danger.
“Every now and then, a well-crafted attack can slip past your defences and lure you into opening a poisonous e-mail attachment or downloaded file. A targeted attack might even use your correct name and business title,” says Blaeser.
“To fight back, ensure that your business has an effective security suite installed, but also ensure that all company employees are aware of the danger and do not open these types of files.”
Similarly, phishing remains an ever-present danger. With many fake sites increasingly hard to distinguish from the real ones, effective protection is essential.
“The best approach, and the most straightforward, is never to click a link in any e-mail message to access your financial accounts. Instead, always type the URL or use a bookmark. That one habit will protect you from almost every phishing attack,” Blaeser explains.
“In addition, make sure that your security software has built-in features to block known phishing sites. It is not enough to know about these incidents and risk factors, you must also understand how to protect the integrity of your network.
“If you know a hurricane is approaching, it is irresponsible not to shutter your house. Likewise, if you know security incidents are occurring, it is irresponsible not to protect your business with effective security software,” Blaeser concludes.