When Is a Virus NOT a Virus?

When Is a Virus NOT a Virus?

I have seen many terrible things happen on the internet, but one of the worst things that can happen to you is when you download a virus onto your computer.

If you have downloaded a virus onto your computer, you are in a lot of trouble.  In fact, one of the worst things that can happen is that your computer will erase everything that you have on it.  Now your problem is that you must back up everything on your computer and then do a system recovery.  If you do a system recovery and then you find that you still have the virus, you now must deal with keeping your computer software and your files up to date with the latest patches.  This can get very expensive if you must have your computer repaired.

One of the best ways to guard your computer against viruses is to not download things that look suspicious.  This is easy to do you have to be careful when you are looking for something to download.  The best way to hide files is to download from websites that have a reputation of being trusted.  Also beware of hidden folder folders.  These folders can infect your computer and if you open them, they can infect any other computer that uses the same disk.

Look for a free virus scan program and be careful of what you download.  Viruses can look very legitimate and when you download something that is unknown to you and asks for personal information or tries to download big files or win games.  This is very dangerous stuff and you should have a good virus scanning program on your computer to hide your computer from these.

I work for a computer security firm and we recently had a client that was running an internal email server.  During our regular scans of the network, we discovered that the client’s server was crashing, and they had infected their entire network.  We helped them fix their network and implemented several security fixes.  They now have a secured internal email server and their consultants can now access the network from their client’s location.  This client had a built in 20 gig backup system and was using some retail software to migrate their files to the cloud.

The Retail Software said they had to move their email hosting to the cloud because they had a duty to their customer to keep their business infrastructure secure.  This came from a conversation I had with one of their sales reps on the phone.  He said, basically, that because their customer had made a purchase and hosted the software themselves, they could not now afford to take a security risk by moving to the cloud.

That statement is false and heartless.  Your business is too important, and your clients depend on you, to move your company’s data and network to the cloud.  Your business logic says, “We cannot do this without jeopardizing our relationship with our customers.”  That customers statement is false, and you have orchestrated a situation that will lead to lost business.

What Your Computer Needs to Know

Here are some rules of thumb for protecting your business:

Having your data hosted in the cloud should be an option, rather than a must.  Put it in advisory on how you plan to move into the cloud if you have any plans to do so.

First, you must inspect your existing IT infrastructure to identify potential soft spots.  The most common areas that we see to have vulnerabilities are web applications and web server hardware.  Examine these areas carefully for any signs of compromise.

Next, assess how vulnerable your systems are to certain types of attacks.  What types of attacks are present and how often are they occurring?  Also examine how secure the systems dealing with these vulnerabilities are always .  This may involve using a penetration test to reveal the vulnerabilities, administering account punishments when appropriate and then making sure that proper protections are in place to prevent the attacks.

After you know what vulnerabilities you have, what needs to be done?  The next thing to do is to invest in the necessary equipment to stop these attacks. The best thing you can do is to call in a professional to assess the situation and then set you up with a plan to protect yourself.

While it is true that your business may become immune to certain attacks, you cannot always be protected against them.  Attackers are constantly finding new ways to invade businesses networks and it is important that as your business grows you find ways to combat and defeat them.

The importance of this is easy to understand.  Without protection, companies could be forced to close branches, sack people etc. While roads being impassable because of a damaged bridge is important, it doesn’t make for a good story when you are losing money and customers… it’s a much better solution.

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