11/12/2012

By Mike Foreman, general manager, SMB at AVG Technologies


Technology has enabled people to have deeper and more enriched lives online - we are generating and storing huge amounts of personal data on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and yet the protection of this data is not the first thing we think about. Cybercriminals look to take advantage of unsecure accounts, where details of the users home or work address, mother's maiden name and date of birth can enable them access to their banking details or to their friends' and colleagues' accounts via their contact list. These criminals can then use the data for malicious intent or financial gain and so it is important that businesses secure PCs adequately.

Businesses should consider the ways in which a cybercriminal can harm the user via the computer or web. Is the company's security software up to date? Is their PC or tablet password protected? Does the user have the same password for multiple sites? If employees often work at home, is their home Wi-Fi network encrypted? Are they regularly backing up their data? If not, your business may be vulnerable to online threats.
Implementing a fully up-to-date antivirus suite will help to better your company and a simple and easy to implement security software solution should include not only antivirus security for web browsing, but also firewall technology, and email defences and shields to guard against threats carried via Instant Messenger services and Wi-Fi. As well as installing an antivirus suite, here are five top tips to you can take today to secure your business online.

Password protection - Password protection should be enabled on any laptop or PC- and that means avoiding using obvious passwords like '12345678' or 'password' or even 'admin'. Instead, users should opt for an alphanumeric mix with special characters in upper and lower cases such as 'puppyLove567$' or 'passphrases' like 'Man#Uwrkngwell4ever!' (Manchester United Working Well Forever) which are much harder to guess but easier for the user to remember.

•Don't just click 'OK' - Users should think before they click 'OK' to any requests theirPC ortablet makes for their permission. It's important to always check to see if it is a genuine request or whether it appears odd that the app should be asking to download a file.

•Be aware of social media - Often cybercrime threats can slip through the radar of the company's security protection depending on how they user uses their PC. Cybercriminals are finding it very convenient to distribute their malware straight to tablet devices by utilising popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Android is a key target in particular as one of the most popular phone platforms today with over 50 per cent market share in the US, according to latest ComScore figures.

•Be cautious about downloading apps - Apps are an increasing channel for cybercriminals to spread malware since many tablet devices are tied into operator billing systems, which makes monetisation easy and effective. All cybercriminals need to do is trick users to install a malicious app on theirdevice through which they can gather revenue by utilising premium SMS services without the user even noticing.

•Don't let curiosity kill the cat! -Businesses should also be on the look-out for celebrity sex and scare-mongering scams that lure PC users into downloading what appear to be legitimate videos and apps. Cybercriminals are using videos to attack users by hiding malware inside celebrity sex videos and false security alerts that promise to remove malware detected on user machines.

It is in the businesses best interest to ensure that they have the right security features installed so that its employees can continue to surf the web with peace of mind that their personal data and the business' company IP is kept safe.

This article originally appeared on Techbubbles, for more great articles about all things business technology click here.