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April 1, 2013

The Importance of Good Antivirus

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Can we afford to lose data, have hours of down time, be responsible for allowing an attack to come from your network, and or be responsible for hosting illegal files? These are just a short list of the examples we have seen firsthand due to viruses.

Having a good antivirus program on each of the computers on your networks is vital.  Having said that, here is what I mean.  Any computer that is connecting to, or transferring files to and from your network, whether it is through a program, a VPN, or any other means, needs to be protected by good antivirus software.  Let me elaborate on this.  Any computer that has any association with your computers on the network by any means must adhere to your internal security best practices.  If you do not have internal security best practices you will need to research and come up with your own, or hire a security expert and have them help with this recommended option.

Additionally, any computer that is not normally at your office, for example an employee brings his/her own machine to the office to create documents or email, should also have a good antivirus software running on it to help reduce the risk of a possible infection.

Some of you may be asking “Why does it matter?”

This matters because any virus that is running around in the wild could potentially infect the computers on your network and let the bad guys in or wreak havoc on your internal systems.  I know some of you may also be asking yourselves “Why would someone want to get in to my network?”  Well the answer is both simple and complex.  Here are a few: To DDOS (see below for definition and link to Wiki) another company; to steal financial data; to track your internet habits; to exploit your clients; to send spam from your network; to host illegal files and such on your server; to steal your files.  The list of reasons why could go on forever.  The real questions we should be asking is; “Why would somebody NOT want to get into my network?”  If you can answer that, then I will bow to you as you have thwarted every bad guy on the internet by having the absolute most boring environment that nobody in their right mind would ever want to even attempt to look into.  If you have computers or network equipment, then this is not true.

An example: I have one computer at home running SSH (secure shell) that is open to the internet.  When I first set it up I was receiving hits (failed login attempts) on it within minutes of having it up (mostly from China).  Don’t think that just because you think your systems are boring that somebody else would also think that.

It’s all too often that I hear “Oh, but it won’t happen to me” or “There’s nothing on my computer/network that anyone would want to get into”.  Well it may be time to think again.  There could be hundreds of thousands of infected computers out there silently waiting to launch another DDOS attack on a major network to gain publicity, or to oppose some action, thought, or lifestyle (research hacktivism and botnet).  Criminals are out there, and a virus infection could lead to your network or computer systems being infiltrated.

I could go on for hours giving you reasons why one should not make it easier to get into your network, or lose important files, etc.  For now, let’s just conclude that having a good antivirus is a good thing for every computer.  And MAC users:  Just because there aren’t many people out there that code viruses for MACs, doesn’t mean that your computer can’t unknowingly carry an infected file that could infect other MS Windows systems on your business’s network.  The same can be said for Linux users.  There are antivirus solutions for both MAC and Linux.  I suggest looking in to them.

I sincerely hope that reading this blog is enough to encourage you folks who do not currently have antivirus standards in place, to immediately do so.  Not having an antivirus solution is a HUGE security risk.

Reference:

DDOS –

Definition: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/DDOS

Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDoS#Distributed_attack

 

Hacktivism –

Definition: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hacktivism

Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacktivism

 

Botnet –

Definition: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/botnet

Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botnet

 

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