Ghouls and goblins don’t surface on the Internet only during Halloween. They lurk in the shadows twenty-four hours a day and indiscriminately seeking victims at home, on the road, or in the office. The perpetrators seek personal information, money, surfing habits, hard disk space, processing power, and shields to launch attacks on other computer networks or websites. Although it is nearly impossible to prevent every attack or exploit, using caution and the steps below will help minimize the possibility of being infected with a virus or spyware.

Use caution when opening email attachments
Unknown file attachments that end in .scr, .vbs, .pif, .bat, .exe should not be clicked unless you know who they are from and what they do.

Don’t click on pop-ups
“Alert: Your computer has been infected with 31 viruses, click here to install XYZ anti-virus to clean your computer”. This is a common trick being employed right now to spread viruses and open your computer to exploitation. The message appears in what seemingly is a valid screen showing “your computer” being scanned. The reality is, it is an animated image in a pop-up window that when clicked installs harmful software. Bottom-line, don’t click on any pop-ups, and not even the red x to close the window. Use Alt + F4 to close the web browser.

Use a multi-layered security approach

Install and update anti-virus software
Every computer should have a licensed and current anti-virus application running. Anti-virus software should be set to regularly (daily at a minimum) get updates so that your computer is protected from continuously evolving threats. Check your ant-virus today to ensure that you are getting regular updates. For personal computers AVG has a nice free option (www.free-avg.com)

Update Microsoft Windows and Office Products
Regular updates of Microsoft Windows and Office products are important to seal off existing vulnerabilities within the products. update.microsoft.com

Your computers should be protected by a software or hardware firewall that sits between your computers and the Internet. The Windows Firewall is not sufficient protection to keep a computer protected from today’s threats.
Our Freedom IT customers have the comfort in knowing that a multi-layered security approach is proactively being managed for them. If you have questions about our security philosophy or our Freedom Total Secure offering, please contact us at 703-961-1840.