Computer Security Safeguards and the Dangers of Mixing Business and Pleasure

With computer security safeguards becoming more difficult to maintain, casually surfing the Internet on the same computer you use for work is asking for trouble.

Here are a few facts:

  • Microsoft Windows computers infected with malware tripled in late 2013. The main threat came from a browser add on that was overlooked as harmless by security companies.
  • Apple recently released numerous security updates for Apple TV, AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule, OS X, and IOS 4+. These updates resolve serious security vulnerabilities that include code execution, application termination, and Heartbleed vulnerabilities.
  • Many PC and Mac users have exposed passwords, account numbers, and other sensitive data thanks to the Hartbleed bug.
  • Ransomware is on the rise.

Frequently, customers bring their work computers which are locked up by malware or blue screened to our shop in need of a miracle. We try our best to save their precious data (such as payroll or billing) and professional programs but sometimes the damage is too great. When we ask them if they have a backup of their data the answer is usually, “no.”

This scenario can be avoided by following a few computer security safeguards.

  • Keep a good, quality antivirus program on your system. Set your program to scan and update daily.
  • Do regular backups of your system and keep those backups on an external hard drive that is kept in a safe place, separate from your system.
  • Get a second computer for your casual computing and web surfing. This second system can be a desktop, laptop, or notebook. Once you have purchased this second computer, never connect it to your work computer and never share files between them.

Malware is more sophisticated today than it was just a few years ago. Many viruses are camouflaged by rootkits. If your antivirus program can’t see the malware, then it can exist undetected on your system collecting information or opening backdoors for other malware that might drive by.

The less time spent non-work related websites, the smaller your chances of picking up malware. Of course, anything that is connected to the Internet is capable of getting malware. This is why regular backups of data are necessary. Cloning your system is also a good idea. Cloning is basically making a complete and working copy of your system. This copy is stored on an external hard drive, kept separate from your system in a safe place. If your computer ever crashes, your compromised hard drive can be swapped out for this copy and you can be up and running in no time.

If cloning your hard drive is something you are interested in or you have other questions about computer security safeguards, drop us an email or give us a call and set up an appointment. We can get you started in the right direction for your computer security needs.

This article was originally posted in May 2014 on our Binary Aether Blog which is slowly being migrated here to our website.

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