One of the most dangerous aspects of computer threats are their ability to cloak their existence. Malicious authors of computer malware programs go to great lengths to create applications that are difficult to identify and remove. They are also experts at finding overlooked loopholes in networks in order to gain access undetected.
What is surprising though, is that in spite of being inundated with news about security breaches and data loss on a daily basis, we still find organizations and businesses with dangerous misconceptions about computer threats.
Note: Recent high-profile breaches at major companies affected retailers like Target Corp, Neiman Marcus and Michaels and credit monitoring bureau Experian Plc.
Here are four major major misconceptions about computer threats:
Malware is easy to remove.
There are millions of computer threats like spam emails, thousands of malware websites and an unknown number of cyberattacks taking place on the Internet every day, and navigating safely through these threats is not an easy task.
Because some of these malicious programs deeply embed themselves in the operating systems, it sometimes requires high technical skills and several hours of work to diagnose and remove such computer threats from the infected systems.
In some cases, the best thing to do is to completely wipe the hard drive and do a fresh install of the operating system, and this can be a very costly option in terms of down time, lost data, lost revenue etc.
It’s the computer’s fault
One major misconception is the tendency to blame the computer when bad things happen. You often hear complains like “My computer is too slow”, “The browser takes forever to load” etc. The reality is that in cases of computer threats like spyware or malware infections, it is usually the result of some type of action taken by the user (either you or an employee). This is because the authors of these programs expect predictable behavior or action by the user. It could be through downloading a great looking screensaver, wallpaper or emoticom, or a video of a dancing cat.
What is critical is the fact that while the user was downloading the useful resource, another program called a “payload” was also downloaded in the background without the knowledge of the user.
Another major source of computer threats are infections through unpatched applications and operating systems, and out-of-date virus definitions. Malware authors have the ability to access your computer through a banner ad on a web site you visited, an attachment you opened, or a link in an email that you accidentally clicked on.
Most software vendors are aware of this and are constantly releasing updates and patches. All it takes is one missed critical update or patch to leave you and your organization vulnerable.
The network is working fine, so we don’t need maintenace
This is probably one of the biggest and most deadly misconception about computer threats that most businesses and organizations fall victim to. Computer networks need maintenance like most things mechanical.
A car needs regular oil changes, tire rotations etc. or it will eventually break down and the cost of fixing it can be far more that what it would have cost to do basic maintenance.
The same is true for your computer network and systems. There are certain maintenance checks that need to be done daily, (like virus updates and spam filtering); weekly, (data backups and spyware scanning); and monthly, (checking for and installing available patches and updates, disk defragmentation, spyware detection and removal, disk integrity checks and power backup battery checks).
The best way to do this is to set up an automated system that takes away the burden from people who may tend to forget once in a while to run these tasks.
Lack of system maintenance is the number one reason most businesses end up losing valuable files and data and incurring heavy computer repair bills.
The Microsoft firewall is all the maintenance and protection I need
This is another grave misconception about computer threats. There is a false belief that the firewall that comes installed with the Windows operating system is all the user needs for protection. But the fact is that Microsoft does not include all security features to protect user data from viruses, spyware and data loss. In fact, one of the first thing you will notice on a new Windows system is the prompt to install an anti-virus software.
Although improvements have been made with the newer releases like Windows 8, no one single vendor is capable of all of the security features needed to keep you and your network safe from intentional and/or unintentional harm. What is required is a multi-faceted layered approach, sometimes called defense-in-depth.
In coming articles, we will outline Six Simple Steps To Secure Your Network From Attacks and How To Avoid Expensive Computer Repair Bills.
Click Click here to learn how Tech Prognosis can help you implement and maintain a secure computer and network environment with our Network Security Solutions for your business in Round Rock, TX and surrounding cities.