It seems that there is a new cybersecurity threat emerging, every other day with ransomware and other phishing scams being the most prevalent. In that past I have written in detail about ransomware and the steps you should take to minimise your likelihood of attack. I recommend reading my piece “Ransomware – The complete survival guide” for a good understanding of the threat and how to mitigate your chances of attack. You should also look at my most recent post on the “Do’s and Don’ts of Ransomware”. This piece however is more generic in nature in that it’s a general guide of what to do to help protect you from a variety of cyber threats. This isn’t an exhaustive guide but a simple list of practical steps that you and your team should implement.
Antivirus – No matter what antivirus solutions you use, it is of no value if it isn’t up to date. While there are some pretty good free solutions out there, many of them require a manual update, leaving you open to possible attack. I would highly recommend that you invest in a trusted and reliable anti-virus solution to protect your business.
Ensure that your firewall is on – A good anti-virus solution should also have a good firewall and as the name suggests, a firewall is a wall between your system and the internet. It is designed to protect you from any number of malicious threats and it is therefore vital to ensure that it is up to date and always turned on.
Install a pop-up blocker: There are many 3rd party pop-up blockers and extensions available, however I would be cautious in recommending any as there is always a risk that the piece of software or extension itself could be infected. Did you know that Windows has its own pop-up blocker as part of your operating system? If it isn’t automatically enabled, then you simply go to Internet Option and under the security settings, enable pop-up-blocker.
Keep your System up-to-date: I agree that windows updates, can be annoying however a lot of these updates are rolled out with security patches and bug fixes to help protect your system. The same applies for apps other software applications, keep them up to date to keep your system safe.
Avoid suspicious attachment and links: No matter how good your anti-virus and firewall is, if you click on a malicious link or open a malicious attachment, you will likely allow an infection into your system. Most phishing scams and virus threats originate from malicious attachments and links. If you aren’t certain of the origin of an attachment or link, Don’t Click.
Downloading: Where possible, only download from known reliable sources. If you need to download from a 3rd party, check their reviews and ratings. Never download from torrent sites and the like. You might think you’re getting something for free but there’s always a price to pay and that price might be opening your system to the cyber-criminals.
Disconnect from the network: If you fall victim to a cyber-attack, the important thing is not to panic and take immediate steps to reduce the spread of the attack. The first thing you must do is disconnect your machine from the network. If carried out immediately, this may well prevent the infection from spreading.
Backup, Backup, Backup: If your data is compromised or held to ransom online backup is one sure fire way to guarantee that that you can recover your valuable data. Online backup allows you to store your valuable data off site for any kind of disaster recovery. Read our piece titles “Online Backup v’s Online Storage”.
Call the professionals: I have said this time and time again; with all the will in the world there is no guarantee that you won’t fall victim to a cyber-attack. If you find that you have fallen victim, it may be time to call in the professional. IT.ie have vast experience in the frontline battle against the cyber-criminals and our team of professionals are on hand to answer any of your questions or allay any fears you may have.