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Pronets' Tuesday Tech Tip, July 23 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 July 2013 08:06

You are the anti-virus your computer needs.

Most of us rely on our anti-virus software to keep our information safe; however, we often turn against this software and install the virus ourselves! Of course anti-virus software is the biggest tool available to fight against the ever evolving virus threats and, regular updates to the program are incredibly necessary to keep up with those mutations. Firewalls work hard to keep these threats from even entering your network, and consistent updates are the extra bricks and mortar needed against those sneaky programs. And after all that effort, you might feel pretty safe, that is until you realize there is one last threat to take care of: YOU.

You have the ability to install the virus all by yourself, bypassing all of those anti-virus measures protecting your information. You do it when you see an email from someone you don’t know, and you open it. Sure, the subject line was tempting but inside the email was a virus, and you told the computer to access it. Making sure you have an email filter is extremely important, and slowing down to look at the sent from section is how you become an anti-virus.

That’s not the only way you can become an active player in the fight against computer viruses. Watch out when you are tempted to download an application from a website. Those toolbars and applications may have a nasty little surprise packaged into the code, and the original programmers may not even know it. Toolbars are notorious for bypassing the virus software and rarely offer enough benefits to the user to make it worth the effort. Instead, look at those checkboxes and deselect the toolbar install. Install an anti-virus application that will scan your downloads to assist you in your discernment.

Above all, pay attention. You need to know the way these viruses sneak in and the role you play in building a good defense. Fight on, my friends.



Pronets’ Tuesday Tech Tip - July 9, 2013 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 09 July 2013 14:43

Spyware, Viruses, and Malware…oh my!

It’s difficult to know if you are defending or protecting your computer from these harmful programs without understanding what they do.  Today’s tech tip will teach you the terminology and help you to become an active participant in your own protection!

Spyware (Wikipedia def): Spyware is a software that aids in gathering information about a person or organization without their knowledge and that may send such information to another entity without the consumer's consent, or that asserts control over a computer without the consumer's knowledge.  It is mostly classified into four types: system monitors, trojans, adware, and tracking cookies.  Spyware is mostly used for the purposes such as; tracking and storing internet users' movements on the web; serving up pop-up ads to internet users.

Viruses (Microsoft def): Computer viruses are small software programs that are designed to spread from one computer to another and to interfere with computer operation. Computer viruses are often spread by attachments in email messages or instant messaging messages. Viruses can be disguised as attachments of funny images, greeting cards, or audio and video files.

Malware (Wikipedia def): Malware, short for malicious software, is software used or programmed by attackers to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. Malware includes computer viruses, ransomware, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, keyloggers, dialers, spyware, adware, malicious BHOs, rogue security software and other malicious programs; the majority of active malware threats are usually worms or trojans rather than viruses.

So if you want to protect yourself against malware, you have to protect yourself from viruses AND spyware.  First, try not to rely too heavily on the free stuff.  The protection that is part of your operating system is a good start, free products from reputable virus protection companies are better, but the best is to spend the money and get Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware technology to scan your computer.  (If you are a Pronets’ managed services client, you have high-end protection available to you free of charge.) Regular cleaning is necessary and while most systems will quarantine a harmful application, it’s helpful to have it scrubbed from your system.   We can get into this a little more, but now you know the difference!


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