Being a Managed Service Provider means putting out fires. Thankfully, while few actual fires occur, plenty of users experience daily acts of spyware, malware, phishing, viruses, cryptolockers, or even a combination of all these nasty intruders.
Lock it up:
The best defense for any Malware is preventing it from hijacking your device in the first place. Aside from that, having ANY kind of system level protection is helpful. Updated security patches and general OS updates are your first line of defense, as well as having a secondary program bouncing unwanted applications before they get a chance to dig in and cause damage. Most of these malicious attacks happen right in your user profile cache folders themselves, right under the nose of the browser you’re using to read this blog! Ad-blocking and spyware browser extensions can offer more layers of defense, but there’s no catch-all for poor browsing habits.
River City Ransom:
Thanks to the abundance of social media, online resumes, and company specific contact information being available across the globe, your team may become an unwitting target for unsavory ransomware attacks. Don’t blindly follow dodgy links, or open just any attachment that lands in your inbox. Files disguised as proposals, PDF’s to review and sign, or just random spoofed requests for approval could hijack and potentially cryptolock your PC’s files with specific demands for release. Even worse, your entire local network could succumb to the spread of a virus-like spread, locking and isolating files, exposing sensitive information to third parties, or potentially deleting hostage data at a whim.
Read twice, click once:
Phishing attempts have skyrocketed nearly 40% in the past year alone, and the ramifications of following what seemed to be a trusted link can have serious consequences down the line. These attacks are leading users to authentic looking sites with SSL and cookie cutter login pages with HTTPS mimicking a normal account portal. In an instant, your credentials are compromised, sometimes resulting in a fraudulent mess made by the third parties responsible for skimming from unsuspecting users login attempts.
Don’t fret, there’s hope:
I was just kidding about that whole “Entire internet is out to get you” bit, but if you’re not paying attention, you might get bit. More than a third of legitimate domains have been found hosting compromised content, but with a combination of blocking extensions, malware protection, up to date software, and a bunch of common sense, you’re unlikely to run into problems navigating any network. Users who actively read about and take courses on phishing prevention are two-thirds more likely to avoid getting fooled by one of these scams.
The light at the end of the fiber:
You’re already more secure if you’ve migrated to Windows 10. Security experts rate the latest version of Windows twice as secure as 7, especially if you’ve got the latest updates. Ensure your passwords are complex and unique, which is an easy task if aiding the use of a cloud-based password manager like LastPass or 1Password [KeePass being even better, albeit a local solution]. Preventative malware agents like Webroot or Malwarebytes Premium can improve your overall real-time defense rating, while free browser extensions along the lines of uBlock Origin help keep most soupy ads from delivering damaging payloads.
There’s no magic formula to keeping your PC safe on the internet, but preventative tools + attentive browsing = a healthy computer.