Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Need for Malware Protections

Antivirus/Security software is a required element for computer systems today.  According to Top Ten Reviews, “Today, an unprotectied computer isn’t just vulnerable, it’s probably already infected.  If you load anything on your computer from other computers, browse the Internet, use Instant Messaging or Email then you need an antivirus program that is up-to-date and active on your computer at all times.

Computer viruses, worms, trojans and other types of malware (malicious software) can damage files and interfere with your computer’s ability to function normally.  They can also set your computer up to be used to attack other computers without you even being aware of the activity.  They can open up access to everything on your computer and everything you do on the Internet to be shared with, and utilized by, criminals, literally, all over the world.  

In fact, the majority of malware and other harmful bugs comes from North America, but a close second is Asia followed by Europe.  When you connect your computer to the Internet you are connecting to the World, and there are plenty of unethical people in the world we live in today.

The personal information you access online and store on your computer is completely open to attack without having the proper security measures in place.  Also, as a responsible Internet citizen, you should protect your computer to prevent it from trying to attack other computers.  If you computer becomes part of a botnet, you just give the criminals more processing power to come up with new attacks on everyone else.

There are no true “Silver Bullet” protection systems that can guarantee prevention from infections.  New attacks are being developed every day.  But, if you don’t have some level of protection software loaded, up-to-date and running you are completely at the whim of the next criminal to find you on the Internet.  

There are, however, plenty of reliable and free versions of protection available.  They are designed for home use, though, not businesses.  Here is a list of options we recommend for free antivirus solutions:

  • AVG Free ( )
  • avast! Free ( )
  • MalwareBytes ( )  ( must be run manually if you use the free version )
Make sure they are not just loaded but running and fully up to date at all times.  Our Monitoring Services can assist you with keeping an eye on the status.

Please follow the licensing rules and never load free home versions of software on all your business computers.  There are plenty of solutions that help you get discounts for multiple computer licenses.

There is also no need to have three or four versions running.  Have one you run all the time and make sure it is up to date and then one you use just in case things seem suspicious just to double check.

Much more complete protection software is available when you purchase security solutions.  Purchased solutions usually use faster technology and often more updates faster than the free versions do.  We can recommend purchased versions that fit your configuration.  They are not one-size fits all solutions.  Plus, some of the solutions actually hinder your ability to get things done if they are not configured properly.

If you have a computer without protection we see that the same way the police do if you are robbed and you never lock your house or your car.  There isn’t much we can do to help you when you have a problem.  Every problem resolution will have to start with downloading and running one of these tools to clean up the computer.  That takes a lot of time to complete, especially if there are a number of infections.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any security questions or concerns.  We would be happy to help you sort through the options and find what works best for you.