Lately I have been running into people who have experienced virus attacks on their networks; and they have not been very obvious. You can protect your network from viruses in two major ways: software and/or hardware.
Most people are aware of the software solutions, such as McAfee, Symantec, etc. They are fairly simple to use; you just install on your pc and you are ready to go. If you are running a server, there are also versions for servers.
The hardware solution protects all equipment starting from the entry point of your network—the Internet connection. Depending on the size of your firm, you can get a very large or a smaller unit. These appliances also have other features like load balancing.
To meet your compliance needs, you can have two Internet connections—from two different providers—and if one of the connections goes out, the appliance will automatically send all traffic to the other connection. This sounds like a great solution, but you will need a tech person to implement it, because there may be technical settings that must be established first.
Both the software and hardware solutions sound great for virus protection, but unfortunately, viruses creators are getting smarter. Many viruses are downloaded with the help of the end user!
I am certain that most of you have gotten an email (usually from someone you know) with a single link. As a good friend you click on the link. Your computer and possibly your network are now infected. Your friend’s email address was probably hacked, and now someone else is using it.
These viruses first start with an interface message telling you that your computer is infected, and that you should scan your pc. These interfaces look official, as if they are from Microsoft, offering to scan your pc. Because you think it’s legit, you may click “Yes,” so your pc is scanned, and then you’re told your computer has viruses and you need to pay to remove them. The virus slowly starts shutting down programs until you pay. Instead of paying, go to download.com and get virus protection software. You should already have virus protection software installed, and if so, call the vendor’s tech support.
I know of firms that have spent tens of thousands of dollars on appliance solutions, but still get viruses. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do but educate users. If you get an odd message asking to click on a link, do not do it! Instead, delete the message and if it is a person you know, call them and let them know their email has been hacked.
If you want an education slide on this type of virus, email me and I will be happy to forward.
Ash Bhatnagar, CFP®
RIA Independence Co.