Spring brings sunshine, new blooms and renewal. While you’re planning your spring cleaning projects, don’t forget your computer. We are a connected world. We use our PCs, phones and other devices to search, communicate and share. Unfortunately, the connected world is also a pipeline for those seeking to attack your PC, steal valuable personal and corporate information, get your passwords to access your computer based accounts and to create miscellaneous havoc.
The computer industry is improving the methods and standards for managing these threats. Recent security reports are encouraging that newer software is more secure and the virus and malware software tools are more effective in controlling the attacks. However, the weak link in these efforts is the individual user of technology. This spring, make a resolution to improve your security practices and make your computer and corporate network safer.
All computers must be updated regularly to get the latest security patches and virus/malware updates. If possible, upgrade to the latest versions of the various software products on your computers. Most software publishers have made security a significant component of their development efforts. These improvements are only effective if you upgrade your software and implement the patches as they are released. Turn on automatic updates or make it a habit to regularly review and update your software. Make sure your anti-virus software is current and renew your maintenance agreement.
Make sure your corporate networks are scanned, patched and all security vulnerabilities are identified and addressed. Enforce the use of strong passwords that change regularly. A recent study of 32 million breached consumer passwords, performed by data security vendor iMPERVA, indicated that nearly 50% of users used passwords that were easily cracked or trivial.
The Internet is an incredible resource of knowledge and community. However, it is the pipeline to your computer. Be sure to recognize the symptoms of trouble:
- Never click on a link in pop ups or email messages, unless you are 100% sure;
- Do not open attachments or download software that is not scanned first;
- Never respond to the rogue anti-virus messages that pop up on your screen – they are a scam, at best, and may be a gateway to a virus;
- Links on social media sites can be highjacked. Be super careful; and
- Never visit questionable sites – you know what they are, and so do the malware creators.
Schneider Downs provides accounting, tax, wealth management, technology and business advisory services through innovative thought leaders who deliver the expertise to meet the individual needs of each client. Our offices are located in Pittsburgh, PA and Columbus, OH.
This advice is not intended or written to be used for, and it cannot be used for, the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that may be imposed, or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another person, any tax-related matter.