In today’s world there are many threats to your personal information and company’s information whether online or offline. Hackers can be after not only your data but also your “virtual wallet” such as online bank accounts, credit cards, and PayPal. Gaining access to your financial information is so lucrative for hackers, it is what drives them and keeps them going. Below are some tips to help you secure your information when you feel that you have become the target of an attack.
In order to carry out an attack or perpetrate a cyber-crime, hackers resort to techniques such as phishing, installing malware/spyware on your machine, using programs that masquerade as legitimate programs, turning the infected computers into so called zombies, doing what they are told by a master computer somewhere around the world. These zombie computers are then controlled by cyber-criminals around the world, orchestrating and carrying out attacks on businesses and home users alike.
A recent study by TrendMicro, a leading company in internet and computer security, states that 25% of the infected computers belong to businesses. In the event that you feel that your computer has been compromised, there are a few steps you can take to minimize your risk till you can have an IT professional come out and mitigate the problem.
- First, disconnect the computer you expect to be infected form the internet. If this is a desktop or workstation it is best to remove the Ethernet cable from either the wall or the port in the back of the computer. If it is a laptop you can turn off the wireless radio, and in turn disconnect it from the internet, by either using the switch that is most often located on the laptop, or disconnecting from the current network from the system tray on the bottom left of the desktop.This action will immediately stop data or information from being compromised but does not remove the infection from the computer.
- At this point it is best to take any important or sensitive data from the infected computer and move it to an external hard drive or flash drive. Do not move this data to another computer or a networked hard drive as you run the slight risk of infecting the computer you moved the data too.
- Finally you should clean the infected computer with anti-virus and anti-malware software. This step is best left to an IT professional to ensure that all traces of the infection have been removed and security measures have been put into place to help prevent the possibility of future infection.
If you do not feel that any of your machines are infected than you are in a good spot. Preventative maintenance is key to reducing infections and also reducing the costs associated with removal of infections. Implementing a proactive as opposed to a reactive security scheme, such as updated anti-virus/malware software, email spam filtering software or hardware, and educating users is much easier and effective long-term than just being reactive to a security breach or infection.
If you do not feel comfortable implementing an effective security solution, it can always be outsourced to a professional firm, such as ourselves, to ensure that your network, systems, and data are as secure as possible. This saves you both time and money in the long term and provides you with peace of mind, that your data and network is in the hands of professionals.
Goodbye till next time.