Your Computer Can't Take a Sick Day

You may recall the old Benjamin Franklin axiom, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Well, it’s true, for you and for your computer. As flu season is upon us, we remind you to protect your business from getting a “bad cold” by paying extra attention to its immune system.

 

What exactly is a “virus”?

Wikipedia describes a virus as “a small infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of other organisms,” and a computer virus as “a type of malicious software that, when executed, replicates itself by modifying other computer programs and inserting its own code. When this replication succeeds, the affected areas are then said to be "infected" with a computer virus.”

The term “virus” is well-known, but it’s just one subset of the overarching category. Malicious software, or malware, is software that intentionally causes harm to computers, servers, or other internet-connected devices. It’s commonly broken down into three groups:

  • Viruses run when a user opens an infected “host” program or file and spread to infect multiple programs.

  • Worms self-replicate and spread like viruses but exist without a host program or user action.

  • Trojans are also standalone programs that are disguised as useful. They run and spread once a user is fooled into opening and activating them.

Some malware is named for a specific goal, for example:

  • Adware displays unintended advertising websites to gain revenue or install additional malware.

  • Spyware tracks and transmits computer activity, personal information, and keystrokes.

  • Ransomware encrypts and locks data until you make a ransom payment to the attacker.

  • Cryptojacking malware steals a computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrency.

Malware is often meant to spread from one computer throughout the whole network. If one employee visits an infected website or opens an infected attachment, the malware can infect computers, steal sensitive information, and damage data company-wide.

 

I have antivirus installed. I’m protected, right?

Traditional antivirus is an important tool, but it only begins to protect against threats to businesses today.

Think of it like your yearly flu shot: it’s an important preventative step that protects you against the most common virus, but it far from protects you against every strain and the rest of the season’s ailments. Similarly, your computer’s antivirus protects against many threats, but can’t cover everything: there are over 850 million known types of malware, and that number grows every day.

 

Preventative Measures

For maximum protection, it’s important to have much more than just antivirus year round:

  • Periodic cybersecurity health checkups show where your company stands and if there are underlying issues.

  • A regular training regimen ensures knowledge of threats and cybersecurity best practices, helping to improve posture.

  • Regularly scheduled ethical hacking & scanning help identify potential vulnerabilities on your network and systems.

When you come down with the latest cold, it’s usually an inconvenience that a few days rest clears right up. For your computer though, it often means a trip to the ER (or worse) which can be painful and expensive. Take care out there and remember to keep up those healthy habits.

 

Stay Safe,

Your Friends @ Defendify