And what to do to prevent them
In today’s technology climate, a computer – be it a home machine or a network environment – is constantly exposed to attacks from many fronts.
What is it? Virus attacks take advantage of vulnerabilities on computers whose patching level is not current. The most important software to keep up to date is the Operative System (Windows), but additionally, programs like Acrobat Reader, Office suites, Java, QuickTime and many more are target of attacks.
What to do: Keep your computer fully patched, both the operative system and the software you use in a regular basis. Ensure you have an Antivirus Program and it is constantly up-to-date. Run system checks at least weekly.
What is it? Spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it. Most spam is commercial advertising, often for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or quasi-legal services. Spam costs the sender very little to send — most of the costs are paid for by the recipient or the carriers rather than by the sender. Spam email can carry viruses in the form of attachment, or worst yet, Keylogers and Trojans. These last treats are not obvious to the user, who may not ever know they are there, and can expose what is being typed on the computer or use the computer to host and provide external access to unlawful or adult material, among others.
What to do: Even though Antivirus can catch much of this programs, and your local AntiSpam solution (inside your Email program) will take care of some of these emails, an AntiSpam service that includes antivirus protection is the best option. These services are located outside your network and will filter email before it gets to your computer.
What is it? This newest form of attacks embeds viruses and other harmful programs in what otherwise would be an innocent and harmless website using techniques that include injection on the code or hiding the attacks in simple gif or flash advertising. One of the most common types of attacks are the fake antivirus or system tune up utilities that take control of the machine and block the user from using it. For these kinds of treats, traditional Antivirus is useless.
What to do: Safe browsing is the first line of defense, and users should be aware and very careful on what they click, especially on search results. Additionally, we recommend a Content Filtering Service. This is basically a sort of Antivirus specialized on web traffic, which will filter these treats before they reach the machine.
What is it? Data loss can occur because of all the previous attacks, but also because of normal system failure. Once a virus or other harmful program gets installed on the machine it is very likely there will be some data loss, but simply put, disk drives that hold the data will eventually fail and the data will become unreadable or inaccessible.
What to do: We can’t emphasize enough the value of backups here. There are plenty of options to have a backup available should the machine crashes or is compromised. From local external drives to online services, the options are so many that there is no excuse for not having a backup of your critical files.