IT professionals must encourage their users to follow several security practices to minimize virus, spyware, and malware exposure. But many computer techs are too busy to spread the word, or they don’t have the time to build an appropriate memo or handout.
With that in mind, here’s a handy reference list of 10 steps end users can adopt to avoid infection (including when using home systems to read and send work e-mail, create, edit, and distribute documents and spreadsheets, access the corporate VPN, and perform other office tasks).
- Install quality antivirus: Free -anti virus and\or free anti-malware programs typically don’t provide adequate protection from the ever-growing list of threats.
Install real-time anti-spyware protection
- Keep anti-malware applications current : Antivirus and anti-spyware programs require regular signature and database updates. Without these critical updates, anti-malware programs are unable to protect PCs from the latest threats.
Perform daily scans
- Disable image previews in Outlook : Simply receiving an infected Outlook e-mail message, one in which graphics code is used to enable the virus’ execution, can result in a virus infection.
- Don’t click on email links or attachments : Users should never click on email attachments without at least first scanning them for viruses using a business-class anti-malware application. As for clicking on links, users should access Web sites by opening a browser and manually navigating to the sites in question.
- Surf smart: Many business-class anti-malware applications include browser plug-ins that help protect against drive-by infections, phishing attacks (in which pages purport to serve one function when in fact they try to steal personal, financial, or other sensitive information), and similar exploits. Still others provide “link protection,” in which Web links are checked against databases of known-bad pages. Whenever possible, these preventive features should be deployed and enabled.
Use a hardware-based firewall
- Deploy DNS protection: Users can protect themselves from all these threats by changing the way their computers process DNS services. While a computer professional may be required to implement the switch, OpenDNS offers free DNS services to protect users against common phishing, spyware, and other Web-based hazards.