By Lara Evans Bracciante
To help ABMP members stay safe in the digital world, we are running a short blog series on cybersecurity and how you can protect your personal information and your computer and digital devices from today’s bad actors. Here is the second installment on social engineering scams.
Computers, phones, and tablets have become integral to our professional and personal lives. And like it or not, our personal information is out there. On top of that, many of us in our businesses are storing client information, which requires diligent security. So, what does that mean when it comes to antivirus software?
The operating systems on computers and devices now typically come with antivirus protection. So, is it necessary to purchase antivirus software on top of built-in protection? It depends on your type of device/operating system. iPhones get a pass here, but third-party protection is still a good idea for Windows, Androids, and MacOS. Here’s why:
Approximately 450,000 new malicious programs (malware) and potentially unwanted applications (PUA) are reported every day, according to the Independent IT-Security Institute. And the vast majority target Windows computers. Because bad actors and their bots are continually surfing the internet looking for vulnerabilities and openings, it’s imperative to shore up your digital defense.
Antivirus software scans your computer or device for malicious software to find anything that might have gotten through, likely from a naive click in a scam email or on an infected website. The antivirus program is designed to quarantine and remove the detected problem. You can typically schedule scans to run at a certain time or on demand, whichever you prefer; but make sure it’s on a schedule.
Bottom-line cost? There are some free antivirus programs that may meet your needs. Just note that that they will be scaled-back versions. Also, be sure to compare features so you’re getting the critical components. Otherwise, pricing is around $50 a year—which may feel expensive, but it’s a small price to pay compared to a data breach. And check with your tax consultant, as this may be a deductible expense for your business. Check out PCMag’s antivirus software top picks.
And keep your computer and antivirus software up to date. Install the recommended updates when you’re alerted to do so, update your web browsers to ensure you’re running the latest version, and don’t click on anything remotely suspicious.
Invest a little time and money in antivirus software to ensure security and peace of mind—for you and your clients.
Lara Evans Bracciante is ABMP’s senior director of Information Technology & Member Service Operations.
• “Avoiding Social Engineering Scams: How to Spot Hackers Knocking at Your Digital Door” (Part 1 of ABMP’s cybersecurity blog series). Read Part 1 here: https://www.abmp.com/updates/blog-posts/avoiding-social-engineering-scams-how-spot-hackers-knocking-your-digital-door