A flood of new malicious code is drowning the Internet, with hundreds of thousands of new malware samples discovered on a daily basis. Moreover, the price of not having adequate protection in place has risen exponentially.

Cyber crooks steal online banking credentials and other financial details, costing end users and businesses millions. Moreover, nearly two-thirds of Internet users have experienced at least one attack related to financial services, be it online shopping, banking or payments, according to research conducted by independent analyst firm IDC.

“A good security solution has one main aim, and that is preventing these financial losses,” says Simon Campbell-Young, CEO of Phoenix Distribution. “In addition, it must be optimised to ensure a minimal consumption of PC resources.”

He says firstly a good security solution must be able to protect financial transactions and ensure the utmost level of security for PCs and therefore valuable information.

“As many a threat enters the PC through the application layer, having the ability to run trusted applications, and sandbox unknown applications is also a big plus.”

Essentially, Campbell-Young says these technologies guard the PC by only allowing the launch of applications that are identified as safe to use.

“A multi-level system that constantly checks whether programmes are legit or not, and that can adapt to an individual user offers top security. A whitelisting database that is constantly updated is needed here, and contains full descriptors of all popular apps, including operating systems, image viewers, browsers, games and so on.”

He adds that phishing attacks and Trojan programs designed to steal credentials for online banking systems are a particular favourite among the cyber criminal underworld.

“An additional layer of protection for online financial transactions, as well as a product that lists trusted online banking and commerce sites is an enormous benefit to Internet users. Similarly, being able to perform an in-depth scan of data files such as PDFs or EXCEL spreadsheets is a useful tool, as many threats may be deeply imbedded in these files, and therefore extremely tricky to identify.”

Campbell-Young says protection from emerging threats must be enabled too.

“A solid solution should be able to prevent exploits, by scanning legitimate programs for anomalous behaviour. This technology should be able to pick up on behaviour that is usually associated with an exploit – or malware that infects machines through vulnerabilities in software that is already installed. Adobe and Java are particular favourites with cyber crooks, and any good security solution will keep a close eye on these programmes.”

Over and above the unknown and sophisticated threats, several old favourites still pose a major risk to Internet users.

“Ransomware, such as the notorious Cryptolocker Trojan that blocks a user’s access to their machine, demanding a sum to release control of the PC, is popular with cyber criminals, as are free programmes that appear legitimate, posing as a music file or other document, but are in fact dangerous malware. Protection against these threats is paramount,” Campbell-Young says.

Users with children will want to know that they are protected too, and this is where parental controls come in.

“These should be flexible, and cover all possible scenarios in which a child might be on the computer. Things to look for here are default profiles that contain computer-use scenarios appropriate to certain age groups that can be modified by parents according to their wishes.

“Parents must be able to decide how long their kids can be on the computer for, which applications they can access and which information should be blocked from social media sites,” he says.

Kaspersky Internet Security – multi-device 2014 and Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014 offer all these features and more, and are now locally available from Phoenix Distribution. Current customers may upgrade free of charge from previous versions to the new products for the remainder of their existing license period.