When it comes to PC security, the least cool thing you can do is catch a virus. Let’s face it; you have more important things to do with your time than trying to remove some infection that seems to resist everything. Today’s attacks tend to be very complex. We have viruses, worms, spyware, adware, scareware, crimeware, fake antivirus programs and more forms of malicious software capable of nefarious deeds. Some of these threats are blended threats, i.e. combinations of worms, Trojans, viruses and other kinds of malware.
My purpose today is not to leave you hanging by your thumbs with fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD), but to explain why a layered approach to security will help you keep your computers and data safe. Before you get all worried that this approach is too complex, let me assure you that a layered defense is the simple solution for steering clear of PC infections. We call it “layered defense” because it is a security system based on multiple precautions and applications that safeguard your computer or network.
The most important layer of this defense is YOU! The more educated you are on cybersecurity, the safer you will be. An intelligent user is the most secure user. Stay on top of the news, read this newsletter and others that hit your level of knowledge and usage. But by all means, know and understand what is going on. This is not a stick-your-head-in-the-sand approach.
Your cyber-street smarts come into play when you think before you click on email attachments or suspicious links. Before you click on a link in an email, hover over it to see its destination. This destination will show up in the status bar at the bottom of Outlook or Thunderbird. Should some rogue software catch up with you, click “Alt F4” to cold boot and shut down your machine before it goes any further. It is important to stay awake when you are surfing.
Antivirus and anti-spyware software, a firewall and patch management are also key components of a layered defense. Today's security programs protect your PC on many fronts including scanning your email. Many have a built-in firewall which provides another layer of defense. Microsoft's Security Essentials is a free program that can help out if you do not have a budget to buy. Just remember to keep your software up to date with the latest definitions to ensure complete protection.
Speaking of up to date, it is also important that you deploy the latest patches and updates to your system. Many of today’s exploits are not just attacking Windows, but other applications like Adobe and Java. Keep these programs patched and updated.
Just remember, a layered defense starts with you!