5 CRUCIAL TIPS TO PREVENTING VIRUS and SPYWARE INFECTIONS!

Jane is reviewing clipart online for her latest monthly newsletter.  She has always gotten compliments on the fun nature of the newsletter and the graphical content in it and wants to be sure this month is no different.  After a few Google searches, Jane finds a link that just may have the content she needs for the Halloween bash this month!  She clicks on the Google link, and as soon as the site open, a pop up immediately appears that states she may have a virus!  What does she do!?!?

We all use the internet to craft special messages to our clients, customers, residents and interested parties.  We all browse the web for research and any link found in Google or other search engines can invariably lead to virus or spyware infections. A few simple things can offer protection.

Antivirus Programs:

Antivirus programs are an awesome line of defense!  Do you have one installed?  Is yours up to date?  Does yours perform routine scans?  Does it have the ability to scan for spyware and malware or just viruses?  Does it scan your email?  These are all important questions and if you answered “NO” to any of these you need to get adequate protection installed.  NSR installs and recommends Mcafee Virus Scan Enterprise 8.8 which offers all of these protections.

Updates:

Everyone knows that we need to keep Windows up to date right?  This is a great first step, but as we do more on the web and more programs hook into Internet Explorer and other browsers, there are several common components that need to be updated on a regular basis to close up the back doors that allow malware to circumventing your antivirus program. The most frequently used of these are Java, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Adobe Flash.  It is absolutely imperative to have these programs updated to prevent infections as all of these programs have introduced their own security flaws into web browsers.  It is also critical to be sure your web browser is up to date.

Firewalls:

Most firewalls offer some type of subscription based web filtering.  This web filtering will help remove spyware and viruses before they ever get to your computers.  Stopping the threat before it can get to the computer will help prevent issues with computers that are not updated properly.  This web filtering can also be used to establish a list of allowed internet sites.  Having a list of allowed sites will make sure your users are access company authorized sites and limit the exposure to such infections.  NSR installs and recommends Watchguard firewalls which can protect your computers when the monthly subscription is purchased and activated.

Policy:

What is your Company’s policy regarding Internet Use?  Do you have an Internet use policy?  Do you allow people to browse anywhere on the internet?  If you do not have a policy regarding internet use, you need one.  Users can waste hours of the day on social networking sites such as facebook, myspace and twitter.  Limiting what your users can access on the internet is the easiest way to prevent malware infections, and requires a capable firewall (see above).

Email Protection:

Email is still one of the most popular methods of spreading malware and messages absolutely MUST be scanned before they get to your inbox.  If you are using a hosted provider such as 1and1.com, then your email is likely being pre-scanned for viruses and spam.  If your hosting solution does not offer spam or antivirus protection, then you need to investigate alternate providers.  Your antivirus on your computer will then scan messages as your read them.  If you are using Microsoft Exchange then we highly recommend Mcafee SaaS Antispam.  This service allows messages to be scanned for spam, spyware, malware and viruses before they get to your Exchange server.  This also allows for messages to be held when your Exchange server is down providing no loss of email during short outages.

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