10 Ways to Help Protect Your Computer Network from Viruses and Attacks

  • Preventing Cybercrime
  • 7/1/2021
Cybersecurity analyst looking at data

Malicious elements are constantly trying to harm your computer and your network. Protect yourself and your company by following 10 basic cybersecurity rules.

Key insights

  • Your data, identity, and money can be stolen easier than you might think.
  • Strong passwords, anti-virus software, and system scans are some of the ways you can help safeguard your computer.
  • Regularly update and back up your computer system.
  • Ever-evolving cyber threats require an awareness strategy for employees, constant vigilance, and a strong cybersecurity plan.

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Phishing schemes, viruses, worms, ransomware, and spyware are just a few of the ways that threat actors (hackers) can compromise your computer and network, and affect you and your company financially. It can be scary to know how easily your identity can be stolen, simply by clicking a malicious link from an email.

Although there are numerous ways in which you can be attacked or exploited, there are also many ways you can help protect yourself and your company from cyber threats.

Require employees to use strong passwords and change them periodically

Creating a strong computer password or phrase is perhaps the easiest way to enhance the security of your system. Set up a complex password or phrase from 8 to 64 alphanumeric characters, and use special characters such as “#@*&.” Remember, passwords should never be written down and stored near your device. When possible, adopt a two-factor authentication strategy.

Updating your password periodically may help prevent brute force password cracks. A brute force attack is a trial-and-error method, where a program attempts to decode a password and gain access to a target’s computer. The stronger your password or phrase is, the harder it is for a hacker to crack it.

Install anti-virus software

Anti-virus software actively scans for viruses trying to invade your email, system files, or operating system. Choose a quality software package, keeping in mind the reputation of the company and product, features of the software (e.g., daily updates), and compatibility with your computer.

Also consider the price of the software. It’s important to understand that the most expensive software programs aren’t always the best. And free software programs — although great for your wallet — may not provide sufficient protection.

Install anti-spyware and anti-malware software

Malware and spyware can do as much damage to your network as a virus. Look for the same qualities in anti-malware and anti-spyware as you would an anti-virus program. These programs should run full system scans on your computer, periodically update spyware and malware definitions lists, as well as quarantine spyware and remove malware.

Most people prefer to simply purchase an anti-virus software with spyware and malware scanning and removal capabilities, but no one piece of software can find and remove everything. Employ a multi-layered approach to securing your computer system. A software program tasked with a specific purpose allows for a more focused attack against those threats.

Perform daily full system scans

Viruses, spyware, and malware are continually evolving. As a result, they can sometimes evade your protection methods and infect your computer system. Implement daily scans via your anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware software to find, quarantine, and remove any malicious agents in your network before any (or further) damage is done.

Create a periodic system backup schedule

Many types of malicious agents can destroy the contents inside your computer. Create a periodic backup schedule to make sure your data is retrievable when something harmful happens to your computer.

Consider backup options like a cloud service or a personal external hard drive. A cloud service allows you to back up your data online. A personal external hard drive can be hooked up to your computer so you can copy your updated files manually.

Regularly update your computer system

It is very important to run regular computer system updates to repair any bugs and abnormalities within the system. If you don’t allow system updates, the abnormalities and bugs that remain in your system can be exploited by hackers. Make sure you allow updates as they are released.

Use your firewall

A network firewall is an essential tool that acts as a perimeter around your computer and blocks unauthorized incoming and outgoing access. When setting up or configuring a computer, take advantage of the built-in firewall capabilities of the operating system. You can update firewall settings based on your preferences.

Use email with caution

Hackers can exploit email in many ways — hiding viruses in attachments, for example. Do not open or read emails from email addresses you don’t recognize. Delete them from your inbox immediately.

Use the internet with caution

Even the safest websites can contain spyware and malware. All it takes is one click of the mouse for your computer to become infected. Many phony websites are camouflaged to mimic authentic websites.

When entering URLs, check the name and correct spelling of the website. Avoid clicking on popups, ads, graphics, and links to other websites.

Research basics of computer security

Computer security starts with the user. If your company does not have a security awareness program in place, it should be considered. Being properly educated can help employees understand how to properly protect their company’s computer network. Take it upon yourself to research basic aspects of computer security — it will go a long way in helping you make smarter decisions when protecting your network.

How we can help

There are other methods and technology to safeguard your computer against ever-evolving cyber threats. We can help you assess your present environment and assist you in developing a specific strategy to protect your systems and data with a strong cybersecurity plan. Our cybersecurity professionals can analyze key aspects of your organization and make specific recommendations to address current and emerging threats.

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