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Hackings, Viruses and Malware, Oh My!


By Contributing Author

Instead of lions, tigers and bears, your business computers are in danger of being hacked, getting viruses and being attacked by malware. As a small business or startup, you can’t afford for your computer systems to go down or for sensitive information to be stolen or leaked. This means you need to do everything in your power to secure your electronics and data. Here’s how:

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1.  Stay Updated

Many recent cyber attacks have occured because businesses and government agencies have not updated their software systems, allowing hackers to take over their devices and demand a ransom. For example, the 2017 WannaCry ransomware took advantage of outdated Windows devices and infected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries, according to a report by CNET.

This worldwide malware hack demonstrates why it’s so important to keep your business (and personal) devices updated; basically, the fewer holes you have in your systems, the less likely you are to be hacked. In addition to your basic computer or smartphone software, you also need to keep your apps and other programs up to date to make sure you have all of the latest patches and security features.

2. Install an Antivirus Software

Another easy step you can take to protect your business electronics and data is to install an antivirus software. These programs sweep your computer to find any viruses that may have gotten onto your computer and help get rid of them. Many antivirus software programs also block pop-ups and websites that may be infected.

For example, an antivirus software protects the computer system, files, and other pieces of data to ensure all of the essential pieces of your business are protected. You also can schedule scans to run automatically so you won’t forget or be forced to rely on your employees to run them manually.

3. Encrypt Your Data

If you aren’t encrypting your data, it’s time to start. Simply put, encryption scrambles your data so that it is not readable to hackers, making it useless unless they have the encryption key. An easy way to encrypt your data is to use products and services that offer encryption security.

The wireless networks in your office, for instance, should come with an encryption capability. The FTC explains that this feature may be turned off as a default, so you need to be sure to turn it on when setting it up. The agency also recommends purchasing a router that has WPA2, which is the strongest wireless encryption available. This step protects anyone on your network from nearby hackers, and ensures your sensitive business data stays private.

You don’t have to jump through a lot of hoops or break your budget to protect your business from hackings, viruses and malware. Invest in the products that keep your information safe and use your common sense to avoid scams and malware. And, as Dorothy would say, look at for lions, tigers and bears — oh my!



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