Everyone knows about viruses, malware, trojans, scareware, ransomware, whatever you want to call them. People have been affected by them in some way either at home or at work, and it is a pain and sometimes costly to remove.
What if we told you that traditional antivirus software was only 30-50% effective in stopping these threats? Well, it’s true – think of antivirus software like getting a flu shot. The doctors and researchers basically pick a strain they think is going to be the most prevalent this season, and that’s the one they develop into a flu shot. But what happens if they miss the other flu strain that is also going around?
That’s kind of like how an antivirus program works, it looks for a pattern of a previously detected virus and stops it in its tracks. It does the best job it can, but sometimes it just can’t see the pattern that has been changed, either by a new release of the same virus or because the virus has been masked in some way.
This is where Windows 7 and 8 help out – XP is at least six times more likely to be infected as either Windows 7 or windows 8. During the past decade, Microsoft has engineered their operating systems around a trusted platform called User Account Control, or UAC. It requires the user to actually confirm that they want to run a program or open a downloaded piece of software before it can be run or installed. The user needs to have permissions to run it too, so if for instance it was a public PC, you can password protect it so that only the administrator can install and update software. It takes huge steps in the right direction of preventing a compromise of your systems, servers, and data.
This also means training your employees – look for the prompt (with the dark background) and if they aren’t sure about something, don’t click OK. It is far less expensive to send an email or pick up the phone call and ask someone than it is to remove the infection after the fact.