How well are you protected, really?

(Classified under: Security)

Posted on 21 June 2016

To help protect you and visitors to your website, all of our web hosting accounts sit behind multiple layers of physical, hardware and software-based security, including firewalls, security appliances, segregated virtual running environments, email filtering, geo-filtering, IP reputation checks and much more.

How do you protect yourself from nasties on the Internet? If your own computer isn't protected, then it's only a matter of time before your PC or Mac becomes the target of a virus, malware or the latest big threat on the Internet - ransomware.

I suspect that I know what you're thinking - "I don't go to the sort of websites that are infected with that kind of stuff..." - but sadly, the Internet continues to evolve and change. Recently large reputable websites, including the likes of Ebay, and a couple of the larger news services, have been compromised by ads and vulnerabilities that don't need you to click on them for your computer to become infected. These are so-called Malvertising or Drive-by Downloads, and such attacks are getting increasingly more common, and increasingly more sophisticated.

To help protect yourself from these and other types of infections, it's a good idea to:

  • Keep your operating system and applications updated with the latest patches;
  • Ensure you have an anti-virus and Internet security application. We use ESET, but there are a number of others out there, such as Norton, MacAfee, Bitdefender, AVG and Avast! - just to name a few;
  • Install dedicated anti-malware and anti-exploit applications, such as Malwarebytes and Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit, or EMET from Microsoft (under Windows 7 and 8);
  • Delete or inactivate plugins, such as Flash, Java and SilverLight, that exploits often use to gain access to your computer; (If you still want to use a plugin on occasion, you may be able to make your browser ask your permission before running it);
  • Install an Ad Blocker within your browser to stop ads from ever being displayed; We use AdBlocker Plus (though if you do use this extension, make sure you turn off the option to Allow some non-intrusive advertising) or uBlock (Firefox or Chrome).

Another point of protection to consider is to replace your existing network router with a network security or unified threat management (UTM) appliance. These come in many shapes and sizes from a range of providers, but the concept is the same for all - block the nasties before they even get to computers on your network. Again, there are a variety of providers to choose from, including SonicWALL, Cisco, Barracuda, WatchGuard and more.

NB: Information presented here is general in nature, does not take into account your particular situation and should not be used in place of professional IT consultation.