5 Tips for Preventing Malware on Work Computers

There are lots of tools out there that will help you remove malware from an infected computer; however, some malware does damage that can not be corrected. As a result, it is best to avoid getting infected with malware in the first place. These five tips will help you avoid malware infections on your work computers.

1. Identify and Protect Vulnerabilities

Many malware programs get onto your system by exploiting weak points. It is important to take steps to prevent this from happening. Keep your operating system, browsers and plugins up-to-date. These updates often contain patches that address security flaws. Enable click-to-play plugins to prevent flash or java from running automatically when you visit websites. Uninstall any software you aren't using. This is particularly true of legacy software that is no longer being updated by the developer. Employ zero trust solutions to block outside traffic from being used as a delivery vector for malware.

2. Protect Against Social Engineering Attacks

Phishing is a technique where cybercriminals use emails that look like they are from a legitimate sender, such as a bank, to attempt to gain access to the victim's system by tricking them into entering passwords and other information or clicking on malicious links. Train your employees on how to spot phishing emails and instruct them never to click on any links in them and to report them to IT immediately.

Another popular scam is pop-ups that claim to be from companies that have detected a malware problem on your system. These pop-ups usually instruct the user to call a number or download a program to get rid of the infection. Real security companies never market their services this way. Make sure employees know not to download these programs or call these numbers.

A lower-tech version of the pop-up scam is calling people, claiming to be from a security company, and offering to fix their computer. The scammers will usually pretend to be from a well-known company, such as Microsoft. Again, legitimate security professionals will not contact you like this, so instruct employees to hang up on these calls without engaging the scammer.

3. Browse Safely

One of your best defenses is to use strong passwords. Strong passwords are not easily guessed, not written down, changed frequently and do not contain personal information, such as a birthdate or pet's name. It is also a good idea to not reuse passwords on different sites. Because it can be difficult to remember all these passwords, you may want to use a password manager.

When browsing, check for the padlock icon on the left side of the URL you are visiting. If you see a padlock, then the site you are using is secure. Don't transmit sensitive data on unsecured sites.

Logout when you're done. Hopefully, you don't have any unscrupulous people in your workplace, but it is best not to take any chances that a coworker, employee, or visitor might log in to an unoccupied workstation and access password-protected programs or equipment because someone left their workstation without logging out.

4. Use Multi-Layered Security

Even if you and your employees are very careful about your computer usage, it can be difficult to avoid every malware threat. Use a firewall to detect and block malicious traffic. Install anti-malware software on all of your computers. Consider using the services of a security professional to make sure you aren't missing any potential exploits.

5. Monitor Your Networks

Your employees are your first line of defense, but they may slip up, so it is a good idea to keep an eye on what is going on. If you can spot suspicious activity early, you can take steps to minimize the amount of damage.

Cybercriminals are always coming up with new ways to get around the measures security professionals take to stop them. You can't avoid every cyberattack out there, but these tips will increase your chances of avoiding malware problems on your work computers.

Related: How To Keep Your Tech Working Better and Longer