internet safety

Handy tips and tricks for identifying malware

Handy tips and tricks for identifying malware 1000 450 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Handy tips and tricks for identifying malware
We live in a world that is dominated by computers. For many people, they are a necessity that is essential for daily life. We use them to watch videos, write term papers, do our taxes and so many other tasks. Computers truly are one of the greatest inventions in the history of mankind. However, there is a threat to your computer that is always lurking and waiting to cause problems when you least expect it. This threat goes by the name of malware.

If you own a computer long enough, you will eventually have to deal with this menace. Having your computer get infected by malware can be an annoying hassle that ruins your day and slows down the work you need to get done. However, if you know a few tips, you can get a resolution to these issues before they get out of hand. If you are able to identify the malware infection symptoms, you will be able to get your computer working perfectly. You will also be able to safe-guard it from being attacked by malware in the future. The five tips below will allow you to recognize that signs that your machine is contaminated with malware:

1. Browser offline

If you are not able to access the Internet, but you are certain that you are still connected to the network, a malware infection might be in progress. You will first need to go to Internet Options > LAN Settings to see if any foreign proxy is currently in use. There is malware that is able to configure your browser to allow it to enter through a proxy that is unsafe. If this is the case, eliminate these proxy settings.

2. Change of Google links and/or home page

If your home page changes by itself, this is a good indicator that malware is present. This is also the case if you click on a link provided by a search engine and you are taken to a different site. If these things are happening, there is an extremely strong possibility malware is the cause.

3. Your PC is slowing down

One of the most common problems created by malware is slowing down the computer it is infecting. The decrease in speed can be related to a specific application or the network performance as a whole. It is important to note that just because a computer is slow, it does not automatically mean malware is the cause. A small amount of memory or a fragmented system are also common causes of slow computers. Therefore, regularly schedule maintenance on your computer, such as disk cleanup, running a check-disk and defragmenting your hard-disks. If you perform all these tasks and your computer remains slow, malware may very well be the culprit.

4. Pop-ups

Every person on the Internet knows how annoying pop-ups can be. Persistent pop-ups are a prime indicator of a malware infection. To get rid of these pop-ups, you will need to use an anti-malware application.

5. Software

Using anti-malware software is the most common method of finding malware on a computer. This type of software is also able to detect adware and spyware.

Why keeping your anti-virus up to date is important

Why keeping your anti-virus up to date is important 1000 450 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

New viruses constantly emerge out of nowhere. Malicious hackers have a harder time getting to your computer than they used to, but we still need to protect our computers with anti-virus software. Some viruses have been around for a while, but they have avoided detection until recently. Viruses can steal your personal information, ruin your productivity at home or at work, and make it difficult for children to use the computer for educational purposes.

Hackers often send viruses called key loggers into your system to try to steal your information. When you type in your social security number, bank account number, pin numbers, and credit card numbers online, they are hidden from view to protect you. Some hackers send viruses that can remove these safe barriers and steal your information. With that information they can steal your identity, remove funds from your bank account, max out your credit cards, and more. Safety online should still be the number one priority, so you must keep your anti-virus software up to date to catch these malicious acts before they catch you.

The definitions within the anti-virus program are what keep your computer secure. Let’s say your definitions are three months old. Any new viruses created in the last three months can then freely attack your computer since your software doesn’t recognize them as threats. You must have the latest definitions since they are loaded with the correct detection abilities to remove threats before they cause damage. The right software blocks threats before they can latch on to your computer and harm your systems. We will keep your computer healthy and safe with new anti-virus definitions.

Installing new updates can be a confusing and time-consuming process if you don’t know exactly what to do. You can’t afford to take chances with something so vital to the safety of your computer. We have the tools and abilities to update your anti-virus software with all of the latest technologies. Your computer needs the newest virus definitions to block and remove the threats that have just emerged lately. New anti-virus definitions will ensure that your computer won’t become a target during the next wave of virus attacks. We can help you rest easy knowing that your computer is in good hands.

If you need assistance updating your existing anti-virus software or purchasing new software, Greenlight can help. We have products that range from low monthly payments per user to complete systems installed on yearly pricing models. Call your account manager today, we will be more than happy to answer your questions.

Stay Smart Online: How to Navigate the Web without Fear of Data Theft

Stay Smart Online: How to Navigate the Web without Fear of Data Theft 1000 450 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

stay smart online - Hack codeMany small to medium-sized businesses make the error of thinking that they’re unlikely to fall victim to hacking, not like larger companies. That leads to an absence of strong data protection strategies. This is a mistake you don’t want to make. In the eyes of hackers, everybody is fair game. In fact, small and medium-sized businesses may have a higher chance of experiencing security problems because they don’t have dedicated IT support and strong security.

Statistics show that cyber criminals prefer small businesses because they have IT systems that are easier to penetrate. Compared to bigger enterprises that have strong IT networks and more secure data protection strategies, hackers can easily gain access to small businesses’ critical information and exploit it.

Increasing Number of Cyber Attacks

Just recently, Symantec released a report on Internet threat security that said there is a 500 percent spike in ransomware attacks. Hackers encrypt a user’s files and ask for a ransom in exchange for unencryption. They can also encrypt files on shared network drives.

Cybercriminals have made a lucrative business out of ransomware, earning between $100 and $500 per shot. What’s alarming is the fact that 3 percent of victims pay the amount, which is understandable when your business is on the line. The report also said that there is an increase in attacks on smartphones as well.

These facts show how important it is to not just tighten regulations surrounding piracy laws, but also encourage small to medium-sized businesses to be more serious about protecting their data. The solution can be as simple as having a dedicated IT manager to oversee the use of sensitive information and implement the right security systems. This won’t just prevent hackers from penetrating your IT systems but also foresee problems and implement preventative measures.

Having managed IT services will benefit SMBs. These will help you monitor your IT systems, making sure there’s no way cyber criminals can penetrate your network and use your data against you.

Stay Smart Online

Incidentally, this week is Stay Smart Online week here in Australia. Formerly known as the National Cyber Security Awareness Week, this campaign aims to promote safe and responsible Internet use, whether at home or in the workplace. The Australian Government has partnered with industry leaders and the community sector to raise awareness for safe Internet use. This year’s theme is focused on mobility, particularly appropriate due to the increasing number of individuals who bring their own devices and use personal applications for work.

With that in mind, let us share with you important tips on how you (and your employees) use the web without fear of exposing critical information to unauthorised persons.

Use hack-proof passwords. These are your first line of defence so make sure you avoid using common passwords because they are easily hacked. Use numerous combinations of lower and upper case letters, characters, and numbers, or even complete sentences. The more characters in a password, the harder it is to hack. Use a password manager so you don’t have to write down all passwords somewhere, you just need to remember one master password. It’s also advisable to change passwords every 4 to 6 weeks.

Install security software. Your computers must have firewall, anti-virus, and anti-spyware installed. These will protect you from worms, malware, and viruses that will damage your equipment and put your data at risk. Note that just having an antivirus installed is no longer enough.

Encrypt your hard drives. Passwords are not enough protection for your company data. Encrypting data will prevent others from reading your files. This will keep your data safe when being sent over the Internet or backed up on a server. Windows computers can use Microsoft’s BitLocker software to encrypt hard drives. You should also encrypt your USB drives and Internet traffic. PC World offers an easy step-by-step guide.

Make sure you have the latest software updates and security patches. Configure your computers to automatically download updates and always check for errors or failed updates. CSO.com, a website for security executives, suggests a free patch-management tool called Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI).

Segment your computer networks. Segmenting separates computers into groups to improve performance and security. You can segment your networks based on different functions like keeping records on customers, finance, and other important files. Here are some best practices for segmenting networks in virtual and private cloud environments.

Implement strict cloud computing practices. Anything you save in the cloud is no longer in your control, so make sure that you encrypt files before sending it out there. You must choose your cloud storage provider carefully, considering speed and security features. Greenlight ITC offers hybrid cloud services, which allow you to store sensitive data safely.

Educate employees. Your staff must be fully aware of the security policy. Educate and train them on how to use applications and access networks securely. Enforce the policies and be strict about it. The first line of defense in security lies in the hands of the employees. Their activities (using social media, instant messaging, and chat) can open the door to cyber criminals and put company data at risk, so make it known which activities are unsafe. Here are some tips from AVG on how you can keep that door shut.