In theory, the very latest security suites containing several layers of protection should make it highly unlikely that you will loss any data or time through the installation of malicious software. This relies upon your security software being kept updated with the latest virus definitions, as well as ensuring the latest security patches for the operating system and applications are also installed.
Although the protection afforded by the security software and the operating system can at times be frustrating, you should never turn these features off, as it will leave you even more exposed to malicious software. The creators of malicious software are continually developing new methods of attack, in recent times targeting Apple computers, resulting in many more cases arriving at our laboratory for data recovery.
Security is Important
Short of unplugging the network cable and never inserting any external media, there is no guaranteed method ensuring against any attacks. Such an approach is impractical in a world where we rely on full internet connectivity for many applications, meaning that risk management is the only acceptable policy. When you first take delivery of a new computer or install a new operating system, besides installing the drivers, you should ensure that you install your chosen anti-virus security software before using the internet. There are many opinions on which security software is best all of which can potentially be defeated if they are not kept up-to-date at all times.
All updates and security fixes for your operating system and applications should always be installed as soon as practicable. Some company’s will restrict the installation of new applications, but some malicious software is able to circumvent this restriction. When installing new software, especially any you’ve downloaded from the internet, care should be taken as many of the installers, often against the wishes of the software publisher, can include hidden malware, browser plugins, toolbars or change other settings. Do not rapidly click next, but read each screen carefully and always check the expert or advanced settings, as this is a common method of hiding the unwanted software and settings.
Browser and Operating System Protection
Modern browsers contain many built-in security features, such as pop-up blockers and will ask permission to install downloaded plugins and software. Never turn these features off or check any box which allows software to install without first asking, as this leaves a large security hole. Websites often contain a large amount of advertising, which can result in new tabs being opened even without actively clicking on an ad. These should not be ignored but closed as many of these sites may be a potential security risk.
Your internet browser is almost certainly the biggest security risk and the most common target of malicious software writers. Using an old unsupported operating system, such as Windows XP may be a potentially bigger risk since Microsoft stopped issuing security updates about two years ago. If you are running applications which require an older operating system, you should restrict the internet usage, especially browser activity. Never become complacent just because you’ve never suffered an attack.