Being in the IT Support business we see our fair share of virus and malware infections and usually the first question we get asked when we return the infected machines is “how did it get infected?”
Often we won’t be able to pinpoint exactly how it happened but we can make recommendations to try and minimise the risk of future security issues.
Some of those recommendations are obvious such as running up to date anti virus software on the machine. We also recommend you at least keep the Windows firewall enabled on Windows XP and above. Better still, especially on larger networks, to install a centrally managed anti virus/firewall such as Symantec Endpoint Protection which is our preferred solution.
The less obvious recommendation is to keep your software up to date. Windows itself is the most important thing to keep up to date and you can do that on individual PCs using the Windows Update service either manually via the website or by enabling automatic updates. You can also enable the Microsoft Update service which does the same for Windows and other Microsoft applications like Office.
For larger networks it’s possible to centrally manage updates with Windows Server Update Services which can be used to push updates out to all of your networked computers and servers.
An important update to consider is Internet Explorer; Windows 7 by default has Internet Explorer 8 installed which was released in 2009. Microsoft considers Internet Explorer 8 to be an obsolete product now and in general it is very vulnerable to exploitation. Internet Explorer 11 is the latest version and can be installed via Windows Update or you can download it from https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/internet-explorer-11-for-windows-7-details.aspx.
Other software which is frequently targeted include Adobe Reader (Get the latest here), Adobe Flash (Get the latest here) and Java (Get the latest here). We would recommend you don’t even have Adobe Flash or Java installed unless you require it for something specific.
Obviously this isn’t an exhaustive list but it should give you something to think about. If you need any help with any aspects of your IT security please feel free to call us on the number below or fill in the contact form and we’ll get in touch.