Basic Security Precautions Discourage Hackers

Spyware, adware, and computer viruses have wreaked havoc with many businesses. The bad news is that there’s no truly hackproof system. The good news is that hacking is typically 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.

Install a 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.

Install and Update Antivirus Software
Keeping your antivirus program up to date is almost as important as installing it. Updating virus definitions will ensure that you have protection against the very latest virus variants. Symantec and McAfee are the leaders in antivirus applications. Also, keep current with operating system updates. They are released frequently to plug security holes discovered by hackers.

Consider Adware and Spyware Detection
Adware and spyware aren’t necessarily catastrophic to your business, but they can be annoying and will decrease productivity. Installing an application like Lavasoft's Ad-Aware product will keep your computers free of spyware and adware. You should install your security measures as soon as you bring your new system online. 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 e-mail or even looking for other computers to take over.

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