In today’s highly computer-dependent environment, security is often threatened by malicious codes or programs called computer viruses. These programs come in the form of malware, phishing attacks, ransomware, and the like. Computer viruses are the common denominator among these attacks. According to Digitally Informed, on average, 75 percent of small to medium-sized businesses are affected by at least one virus. If left unchecked, this single virus can cripple your performance, devastate your systems, and even hinder your business. But with proper knowledge and preventive measures, you can avoid any virus attack that might happen to your computer systems. This article will provide options on how to prevent virus attacks from hampering your business operations.
What is a Computer Virus?
A malware or computer virus is a malicious code that’s made to alter and disrupt different computer functions. It’s also programmed to spread from a single system unit to another. American anti-malware software producer, Norton, would describe a computer virus as “similar to a flu virus; it spreads from host to host and can even replicate itself.” A virus is inserted into a legitimate-looking document or program that supports macros to read and execute its code. An attack can corrupt data and cause severe damages to the system.
A computer virus can corrupt data and render your systems useless. However, your business doesn’t have to become a victim of it. Ensure that your systems are prepared for any potential virus attack. Apart from setting up anti-malware software, you can also use preventive strategies to protect your systems against malicious computer viruses.
Here are five effective ways you can protect your data against computer viruses:
1.) Educate Yourself & Your Employees about Phishing & Ransomware
While it may not be the most powerful type of virus, Ransomware is the most common and rampant type that’s devastating businesses. Norton has even ranked it number one in their list of the most famous computer viruses of all time. Viruses that fall as ransomware are the likes of CryptoLocker and CryptoWall. They spread via email.
Phishing happens when a hacker purposely sends a malicious email that’s made to persuade people into clicking and opening a dangerous link or server. Once a ransomware virus successfully enters a user’s system, it will proceed to lock all files and render them ineffective unless a given ransom is paid.
NOTE: DO NOT pay the ransom! Never put your trust on cybercriminals because either way, your system is still going to be corrupted.
Here are some crucial stats that you need to know about ransomware, occurring in the past two years:
- According to Cybersecurity Ventures, ransomware virus devastation has reached a mind-blowing $5 million last year alone.
- According to the LA Times, 70 percent of ransomware payments in the last two years were paid using bitcoin.
- According to Malwarebytes, 40% of ransomware victims in 2017 paid the ransom.
- According to Business Insider, Cybercriminals have earned a combined $5 million in 2017 alone.
These statistics show how ransomware is both devastating and costly. Prevent it from attacking your systems by educating yourself and your employees. Be aware of this virus and exercise caution when opening various kinds of emails. Check if the email headlines contain any kind of false or suspicious claim. If it does, then your safe bet is to disregard it completely.
2.) Set Up A Business-Grade Firewall & Antivirus Software
Businesses of all types and sizes need to utilise firewalls and anti-malware software. Education and awareness wouldn’t matter without application. So the next preventive measure is to setup a Firewall and antivirus software to serve as your secondary defensive option. Your computer already has a built-in Firewall. Make sure you have it enabled at all times. As for the latter, there are a ton of antivirus software available in the market. Some notable brands include Avast, Norton, Kaspersky, MSE, Avira, and so much more. Make sure both these applications are up-to-date and running.
If you’re running a small to medium-sized business; make this your number one priority. Forbes reports that approximately 40% of cyber attacks are pointing at small to medium-sized companies as easy targets. In addition, about 70% of successful data breaches happen in smaller companies since they don’t take data security seriously.
3.) Review & Update Your Passwords Regularly
According to ID Agent, 63% of data breaches are a result of stolen or weak passwords. Your systems are vulnerable to data breaches. Hackers can send viruses that configure your employees’ passwords and compromise your entire system. Make sure your company password structures are effective and well-enforced. LastPass suggest that you incorporate the following elements into your password:
- A mixture of upper and lower cases
- Number combinations
- Special characters (e.g., “_” “+” “-” “.” “,” “*” “@”)
Change your passwords regularly. Keep hackers guessing, yet, make sure your passwords are easy to remember. Use memory techniques instead of risking your security pass by writing it on a notebook or sticky note.
4.) Backup All Of Your Business Data
Once your system gets infiltrated with malicious viruses, your last resort is to start all over again. Delete the corrupted files and download versions from your backup – if you have one. It’s essential that you make it a habit of backing up your data and records to ensure that you will still have them in the event of a virus attack.
In 2015, the University of Chicago’s records and confidential data have been compromised by a strong ransomware virus (via ZDNet). Prevent this from happening to you. Make sure you have a top-performing backup system in place prior to an attack. Also, make sure that your data and files are backed up for both locally and online cloud backup. Doing so will ensure that you can achieve a speedy recovery after a data breach.
5.) Test the Effectivity of your Backup System
Backing up your files requires a strong backup system. Before you fully commit to your current backup system, make sure you test regularly to ensure that its restoration capabilities are up to par with industry standards. The Intergrid virtual server system features a reliable backup system that restores files to your desktop and then making sure that your data are in the safe zone in the event of a virus attack.
Protect Your Systems Against Viruses
With a robust virus-preventing strategy, you can ensure that your data and computer systems are safe and secure. If you have yet to set up an effective anti-virus strategy, it’s about time you do. Check for Intergrid’s server hosting systems and avail our effective data strategies today.