Happy New Year to you. I hope that you had an excellent Christmas and are now rested and prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the coming year.
I don’t know about you, but I spent the first couple of weeks after the holidays concentrating on some background tasks in order to start the New Year from a secure and stable foundation.
Among other things, I took a careful look at the security of my IT systems and the websites that I look after. Cyber-crime has been hitting the news more and more lately, and it is becoming quite apparent that “unimportant” small enterprises and individuals are just as likely to be attacked as large corporations and nation states.
With my background working in IT for HM Government and large financial corporations, I have always been very interested in the security of IT systems and I continue to take the same interest in the online security of my small business clients.
From a purely business point of view most of my clients are pretty uninterested in security and see it as an added cost and an encumbrance that stops them from getting on with the far more exciting activities that are the reason they bought a computer system in the first place. But, very much like insurance, the consequences of ignoring security could be disastrous. Like a good insurance broker, I can save you a lot of time and money by using my knowledge and experience to ensure that you have exactly the right cover.
PC and Network Security
There are vast numbers of security products on the market, many of which are free. However, not all of these will provide the level of protection that you need. Some may even endanger your systems, either directly, by adding malware of their own, or indirectly, by giving you a false sense of security. I regularly monitor this market with a view to spotting the rogues and identifying the products that offer the best protection whilst imposing the least overhead or complication, and avoiding hindrance to the smooth running of your systems.
You are probably already aware, that I very often recommend Panda security solutions. Not because I make money out of it; I stand to profit every bit as much from almost any other provider, but because the level of support they provide to me is way ahead of any other security product supplier that I have come across. There is a superb team, based in Bracknell, of guys who really know their stuff, and go the extra mile to enable me to support my clients in a way that would just not be possible without their help.
Most people are aware of the need to protect their computers but very many believe that they will be safe if they install an antivirus program. Adequate protection must include a wide range of defences including traditional anti-virus / anti-malware, personal firewall, web & email filtering and device control. Proper defence must provide additional safeguards against difficult-to-detect zero-day and targeted attacks. In addition to all these, users need to be educated to a level where they understand that some actions may undermine even the best of technical solutions.
If you don’t fancy reading the next bit, which is a little bit techie, take a look at this 3 minute video
Traditional Endpoint Protection solutions are efficient at blocking known malware by using detection techniques based on signature files and heuristic algorithms. However, they are no defense against zero-day and targeted attacks that take advantage of the ‘window of opportunity for malware,’ the time lapse between the appearance of a new virus and the release of the antidote by security companies. An increasing gap that is exploited by hackers to get viruses, ransomware, Trojans and other types of malware into their victims’ systems. Such increasingly common threats can encrypt confidential documents and demand a ransom, or simply collect sensitive data for identity theft or industrial espionage.
Adaptive Defense is Panda’s solution to these types of attacks. Adaptive Defense provides an Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) service that can accurately classify every application running on a system, only allowing legitimate programs to run. The EDR capabilities of Panda Adaptive Defense 360 relies on a security model based on three principles: continuous monitoring of applications on a client’s computers and servers, automatic classification using machine learning on our Big Data platform in the cloud, and finally, our technical experts analyse those applications that haven’t been classified automatically to be certain of the behaviour of everything that is run on the client’s systems.
Free security Software
If you’re just running a non-commercial system that doesn’t hold lots of personal data, and you don’t use it for high risk activities such as online banking or e-commerce then a sensible combination of good practice, a decent free antivirus and the excellent Malwarebytes might be all that you need. If you think this applies to you, take a look at this video .