Everyday Computer Security for Everyday Computer People

Do any of these computer security warnings sound familiar to you?

  • “Macs don’t need antivirus.” There are a lot of people who still believe this, despite evidence to the contrary.
  • “I don’t go to potentially infected sites on-line.” Really? The Internet has more malicious software than ever — the sites you love might still be infected!
  • “Everyone in the office knows not to open unexpected attachments.” Actually you would be surprised and even if they are told not to, how do you know if they do or not?!
  • “No, I didn’t read the message I just clicked through it.” So that means there isn’t a problem? Hmm, hide and watch.
  • “It was free.” Of course it was. And now how much did that free offer cost you in support, lost data, lost time and embarrassment with your boss and colleagues? Note: This is no slight against FLOSS (Free, Libre, and Open Source Software — just be a wise consumer and read reviews).

1. Computer Security Updates

It’s not enough to only update your operating system and antivirus, you need to keep an eye on the software you are using as well. They are vulnerable to exploits that allow remote operators to run their own software on your computer. These include such well-known names as Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Flash, Java, MS Office, your web browser, etc. Some of our recommendations include:

  • Windows updates.
  • Mac updates.
  • Adobe products. These can sometimes be tricky as some websites try to imitate these and if you aren’t careful you might also install extra 3rdparty software (like McAfee or Intel Security). Nevertheless, you should update. Adobe PDF and Flash are notorious for allowing malicious code to be run on your system (Mac, Windows, and Linux alike).

2. Endpoint Protection

This is the software you run on your system for “Antivirus”, which is a misnomer that is a holdover from the 90s. Back then, most threats were called a computer virus. Today, only a few threats that these software protect against are considered viruses. You can use free software (as in beer, meaning they generally take more staff time for management), however most license statements for free versions of security software state “for home use only”, (though Microsoft Security Essentials says for home use or small businesses up to 10 devices). These are okay. They are like putting a lock on your door. They will usually stop the casual hacker or unwanted malicious software. Some of our customers have still been compromised with free antivirus.

Professional Endpoint Security

Good professional endpoint security software is much better. It’s like adding a guard dog and some extra locks to the house. Your casual hacker won’t likely get in at all and your professional hackers will have a harder time of it. Professional hackers today are better funded, have support systems in place, have exploit software available to them for purchase with money back guarantees, and even YouTube videos showing how they can be used. All these professional hackers need is one foot in the door, one tiny crack and they can end up finding enough exploits to control your entire computer or network if you don’t follow good security practices.

Professional Computer Security Solutions

We recommend you give Sophos Endpoint Protection a try — sign up for a 30-day free trial now and let us be your Sophos Partner. It runs on Mac or Windows. The Windows Server edition has extra features for lockdown. It also lets you protect and manage your mobile devices (these are also a large target for hackers). Licensing is per-user, not per-device.

  • Windows: Sophos free for Windows — this is not “always on” and will only scan your files when you tell it to.
  • Android: Sophos free security for Android.
  • Microsoft security essentials, AVG Free for Windows — these are “always on” solutions.

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Since its founding in 2003, Nutmeg Consulting, LLC has specialized in providing high quality Information Technology (IT) and Project Management services.

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