The current flood of spyware, adware, and computer viruses has wreaked havoc with many businesses. And there’s no truly hackproof system out there. If determined hackers want to crack your system, they will — it’s just a question of how long it will take.
The good news is that hacking is almost always a crime of opportunity. If your system is safeguarded with a minimum amount of protection — including a firewall and an antivirus program — hackers will likely move on and look for easier prey.
Firewall: The firewall is probably the most important part of any security scheme. The firewall prevents unwanted access to your networked computers. Once installed, you can “teach” the application what programs are allowed access to the Internet and what outside sites are allowed to communicate with your computer. A good firewall will protect you against hacker attacks — but not against viruses.
Antivirus software: Symantec and McAfee are still the leaders in antivirus applications, and both companies’ products will protect against viruses, worms, Trojan horses, and other malicious programs. Updating your antivirus program is almost as important as installing it. Updating your virus definitions will ensure that you have protection against the very latest virus variants.
Adware and spyware detection: Adware and spyware aren’t catastrophic to your business, but they can certainly be annoying and will cut down on efficiency. Installing an application like Lavasoft’s excellent Ad-Aware product will keep your computers free of spyware and adware.
No time to waste: You should install your security measures as soon as you bring your new system online. Recent surveys proved that it can take as little as 30 minutes for a new, unsecured computer to be hijacked by hackers and turned into a “zombie computer” that will do the hacker’s bidding: sending out spam email or even looking for other computers to take over.