Tag Archives: malware protection

5 Ways to Prevent Malware From Sneaking Onto Your Business Network

Prevent Malware - computer security concept

Malware is ever changing and always finding new ways into your device

The single biggest challenge of business cybersecurity is the fact that malware is built to be sneaky. It would be one thing if a hacker attack always triggered alarms and your IT team could fight them off like a castle siege. Or if you could always know what kind of malware would attack and prepare to defend against it. But that’s not how hackers and their automated malicious software work.

Instead, it is their goal to find gaps in your security, slip onto the system, and lurk until there is a way to do damage or otherwise exploit your company. Whether it is spyware, spamware, or ransomware, these malicious programs find ways to sneak into your business network in a wide variety of underhanded and unseen ways. Many businesses today are currently infected and have no idea that their data is being gathered, their IP address is being used for spam, or there is a ransomware attack waiting to strike.

We’ve put together five simple ways that your company can use to prevent malware from sneaking onto your business network in the first place. While hackers are always looking for a new angle, a comprehensive defense can significantly reduce your chances of getting a dangerous malware infection.

1) Fine-Tune Your Firewall

The first step is to make sure that your existing cybersecurity measures are not only strong, but detailed. A firewall is only as effective as it’s settings, and most default firewall settings are not sufficient to block cleverly designed malware. Open ports and generalized policies leave security gaps that malware, disguised as normal business network activity, can slip through.

Masking malware invasions is the primary way that hackers sneak through a firewall. The programs look and act like something firewall default settings will allow and then download themselves right onto your network. Work with your IT team and managed service provider to fine-tune your firewall so that only very specific work activity with key identifiers can make it through.

2) Employee Cybersecurity Training

Human error is actually the leading cause of business malware infections because employees must interact with outside sources like websites, downloads, and client communications in order to do their jobs. This is why hackers have long-since targeted employees with tactics like infected websites and phishing emails.

Your team can be trained to recognize dangerous websites, suspicious “client” interactions, potentially infected downloads, and phishing email attempts so that these are no longer an avenue for business malware infection.

3) Regular Virus Detection Scanning

It’s also safe to assume that at some point, malware will find it’s way onto your network. In fact, there might be some lurking right now from a time before you increased your cybersecurity procedures. This is why virus scanning is so important for both individual workstations and the network as a whole.

There are a variety of virus scanning solutions. There are programs that scan email attachments, computer hard drives, database servers, and complex networks. Make sure to perform comprehensive scans regularly to ensure that particularly sneaky malware does not stay for long.

4) Audit Employee Mobile Devices

Another dangerous avenue for malware infection are employee phones, tablets, and laptops. The more personal a device, the more likely it is that an employee has used it without a business-level of cybersecurity caution while at home or on vacation. The problem is that when these devices come into the workplace and connect to your office wifi, they might be bringing malware riders along with them.

It’s best to make a company policy that requires monthly virus scans of employee mobile devices, particularly if these devices are provided by the company. If employees are uncomfortable with having their personal devices checked for malware, ask them to refrain from connecting to the central company network with unsecured devices.

5) Work-Only USB Drives

Finally, watch out for USB drives. These incredibly useful little devices are great for transferring data from one computer and location to the next, but they can also be carrying infectious malware programs without the knowledge of the user. Once again, this is an especially serious risk when employees are using USBs they have brought from home.

If your workplace uses or permits the use of USB drives for file storage and transfer, make sure the drives are scanned and fully wiped regularly and consider limiting employees to only using work-provided USBs (that you can regularly secure) for plugging into work computers.

Malware is designed to be slippery, to hide on infected devices and to spread to new devices and networks when possible. Protect your business network from sneaky malware infection by covering all your bases, scanning for viruses regularly, and limiting employee’s ability to accidentally bring viruses to work from less careful personal online activities.

For more expert cybersecurity advice, a consultation on the health of your network, or a new MSP partnership for your business, contact us today!

Signs Your Computer Is Infected With Malware


Suspicious or unwanted pop-ups could be a sign your computer has been infected with malware.

Whether you own a personal computer, or have an entire network at your disposal, it’s always important to be knowledgeable about malware. Aside from infecting your computer in numerous ways, malware is also found where you’d least expect it to be. For example, there are many websites out there which seem safe at first glance, but upon visiting them, your computer may become vulnerable to malicious software and other dangerous programs. As another example, you may even receive an email from what appears to be a coworker, only to find out it’s completely unsafe when you open it. With that said, what are some ways in which you can tell your computer’s infected with malware?

#1. Repeated Advertisements 

While just about any website will have advertisements, one sign that your computer is infected, is if you notice the same ads on every website visited, especially if they happen to be suggestive or explicit. For example, let’s say that you’re on a website for your business, and the advertisements are for estrogen pills. When visiting other sites, you also notice these same ads constantly showing up. It’s not often for websites to display the same advertisements, so this could be a case that your computer has become infected.

#2. Unwanted Pop-ups 

One of the most common signs that your computer is infected with malware, is if you keep receiving frequent pop-ups. This doesn’t just happen from visiting unsafe websites, either, but many downloadable files are often bundled with adware and other hidden programs, which are often the cause of this issue. Because there are many who don’t read the terms of service before downloading files or programs, they might not be aware of what’s really being downloaded. However, there are plenty of downloadable programs where you wouldn’t suspect they’re unsafe, even through careful observation. Always be cautious when installing files and/or programs on your computer.

#3. Suspicious Emails

As was briefly mentioned earlier, a sign your computer may be infected with malware, is if you happen to receive suspicious emails, especially from your coworkers. In the emails, are they requesting important information from you, and does the tone of their message seem off? If you’re not sure whether the message was from them, always confirm before taking any action, and block the email address in question. While suspicious emails may not always be a sign that your computer is infected, it could be an indication that someone wants your device to become susceptible to malware, which will be the case if you open the suspicious email.

#4. Slowdown on Your Computer

While there are plenty of reasons for a computer to run slower than usual, never hesitate to check and see if it’s malware related, as it can have an effect on your computer’s performance. Besides, how long has your computer been running slow? If it’s an incident that’s happened recently, perhaps it’s a problem with your machine being infected. On the other hand, if it’s not very frequent, it may just be a case of unnecessary programs slowing down your performance. Either way, always make sure you know the reason for your computer’s lack of performance. Unlike the other signs your computer is infected with malware, such as receiving unwanted emails, it can be harder to narrow down the reason for your computer’s slowdown.

While many businesses are more than aware of how dangerous malware is, knowing whether your computer’s infected or not, is just as important. Between repeated advertisements on various websites, numerous pop-ups through downloadable programs, as well as receiving suspicious emails from what appear to be your coworkers, there are plenty of ways to tell that your computer is infected. For more information, contact us today at SystemsNet.

5 Simple Tips for Preventing Malware, Viruses and Adware on Company Machines

Protecting your company machines from malware, viruses and adware today, can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches down the road.

Protecting your company machines from malware, viruses and adware today, can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches down the road.

Malware, adware and viruses are common infections that computers and systems of all types are commonly infected with. The severity of the infection depends entirely on the malware that was installed. Some malware packages are more harmful than others, but as a business you have other responsibilities to worry about, like ensuring that your business and customer data is safe from potential data theft and malicious usage. Luckily, there are some very simple steps that can be taken that greatly reduce the risk of data theft and other malicious attacks within your business. Remember, hackers and others with malicious will almost always go for the easiest target, so taking a few simple measures can go a long way toward protecting your business.

1. Install a Quality AntiVirus/Anti-Malware Software Package on Every Machine

The first and most important step is to ensure that every machine within your company uses a high quality antivirus and anti-malware software package to keep the machine safe. There are many available, some available for free online. This basic first step will allow you to scan your computer for current infections and protect your business and machines against future infections as well.

2. Use Real-Time Protection Features

When choosing anti-malware software, it is very important that you choose a software package that offers real-time protection. Many of the anti-malware offerings will allow you to scan your computer to identify and remove current infections, but a smaller number offer real-time reporting. It is important to remember that malware infections can happen at any time while browsing the internet, opening emails, or clicking what appears to be a harmless link. Real-time features let you ensure that your business is protected any time a machine is being used.

3. Require Daily or Weekly Scans and Updates

Once you’ve chosen a software package that meets your needs and offers real-time malware protection, set a company policy regarding daily and weekly scans of your machines. Although daily scans never hurt, some businesses may opt for a weekly scan instead. By ensuring that your machines are regularly checked for issues you can be certain that all machines are clean. Additionally, this will help to further protect computers that are not receiving real-time protection.

4. Teach Best Practices for Opening Emails and Clicking Links

One of the biggest reasons company machines become infected with malware is from employees clicking on links and opening emails that shouldn’t be clicked or opened. One of the easiest ways to infect a machine with malware is to convince the user to download a file on their own. By teaching your employees the best practices for opening emails, browsing the internet and clicking anything that could potentially result in a download.

5. Use Hardware Firewalls

Although most machines running Windows will have their own built in software firewall, it is always a good idea to install and utilize a hardware firewall as well. This helps to ensure all machines that your company uses including linked printers, scanners and computers have a layer of protection against malicious attacks. A reliable firewall will protect your systems against malicious network attacks, exploits, malware, viruses and worms that could result in data theft.

When it comes to malware, viruses and other PC infections, the best step you can take is preventative measures. Ensuring that you have a hardware firewall in conjunction with high quality software solutions on every machine will allow you to ensure that you keep your business machines safe while also protecting your network as a whole.

If you would like to learn more about how you can protect your business from malicious threats, please contact us today to schedule your initial risk-free consultation. We’ll walk you through the process of securing your network, machines, and create a sustainable solution that keeps your business safe.

Malware Protection Live: Masquerader or Malware Protector?

Malware often presents itself as something innocuous or even helpful, like anti-malware software.

Malware often presents itself as something innocuous or even helpful, like anti-malware software.

What is malware? Let’s start with the basics. Malware is a broad term. It can mean computer viruses. Malware can also refer to worms, spyware, or adware. The more recent and nastiest attacks come from ransomware. As its name implies, you must pay a ransom to get your system or your data back. Malware can also mean another type of cyber pest that threatens our information networks. These cyber villains wear cyber masks. This type of nefarious malware masquerades as anti-virus software or describes itself as protection against malware. One of these masqueraders is Malware Protection Live.

How does your system become infected with Malware Protection Live? You are vulnerable to this particular malware through several methods. Maybe a user downloaded this malware unknowingly by clicking on a suspicious link. This can happen if one of your users clicks on a banner of a suspicious site. Also, advertisements on social media sites can trick users into downloading viruses. Malware often takes over user profiles on social media sites. The corrupted profile then downloads malware to other users without the original profile owner’s knowledge. By doing this, the malware hides within a virus. Then, the virus attacks the individual’s computer which threatens the entire network.

Malware Protection Live may also download from a site you think you trust. You may think you are visiting a friendly site like JavaScript or Flash Player. But, in reality, a hacker virus redirected your system to the suspicious site.

How do I know if I’m infected with Malware Protection Live?  Unlike other viruses, Malware Protection Live does not hide in your computer’s system files. One day, you will turn on your computer and see an unfamiliar icon in the system tray. From the system tray, the icon runs a friendly message. It says the software will protect your system from malware. It promises to detect and remove malware before installation can occur. Then, you notice that you cannot close this message like a normal dialogue box. If you move to the task manager, you will find that the system tray icon uses about the same amount of memory as an anti-malware program. And, if you read the privacy policy (you can click on this from the same system tray icon), you will learn that this software collects personal information that it may use to send you more software products. It also collects information associated with your personal information. This all adds up to a software that collects all kinds of information: from the computer user’s personal identifiers and passwords to network information, browsing history, keystrokes and who knows what else.

How do I get rid of it? If you have SystemNet’s managed IT services that includes virus and spyware removal, you can relax. We’ve got you covered. Other anti-virus programs may not even recognize that malware has infected your system. Many anti-virus programs consider unwanted programs like Malware Protection Live as low-level threats. Advanced anti-viral protection likes ours includes a shield that protects your network from malware. The shield also protects your network from unwanted programs that enter the system without your knowledge and consent.

If we need to, we can repair your system via remote. This eliminates expensive repair delays and computers out-of-service. SystemNet’s anti-virus protection is better than a manual uninstall attempt. If it’s not done right, deleted malware often leaves dangerous files on your system. Our anti-virus software removes all the dangerous files from your system. Then it keeps on working to protect you from future infections.

If you would like to talk more about Malware Protection Live or learn more about SystemNet’s anti-virus protection, please contact us. We look forward to talking with you soon.