Protecting laptops and computers from malicious malware attack is a complex task, but there are some basic steps we can all take, as businesses or individuals, to help to protect ourselves.
Run reputable Anti-Virus software
Traditional anti-virus software relies on comparing files on your computer with a list of known threats and works well against file-based attacks. Next generation services learn through behaviour models to detect almost any type of attack without any prior knowledge and tend to offer greater protection from malware threats such as viruses, worms, trojan horses and importantly ransomware. Most modern PC operating systems come with a tool included, and although some of these are not considered the most effective, they provide better protection than none.
Create a backup copy of your files.
Many malicious attacks are designed to prevent you from accessing your files, until you are prepared to pay a “ransom” (ransomware). If you have a backup copy, then you are not at the mercy of the attacker. Just make sure the backup copy is not kept on your computer – a local USB stick, or cloud storage are equally viable. Of course, ideally you need to keep updating your backup copy as you create more files through the year.
Install recommended software and operating system updates as soon as they are issued.
Whilst you may not be that interested in the additional features the updates offer, they almost always contain security updates to help protect against new viruses and malware as they are developed.
Lastly, don’t forget your smartphone!
The incidence of malware on mobile devices is increasing significantly, and just as for laptops and computers, you should set your device to automatically download updates as soon as they become available.