Tips To Protect Your Business PC From Malware

Michael Menor is Vice President of Support Services for Tech Experts.

In today’s online world, technology users are essentially in a state of near-constant attack. Almost every day, there’s a new data breach in the news involving a well-known company and, quite often, fresh rules for protecting personal information are circulated.

Because of malware in email, phishing messages, and malicious websites with URLs that are one letter different from popular sites, employees need to maintain a high level of awareness and diligence to protect themselves and their organizations.

Phishing activities are especially pervasive, including attempts to steal users’ credentials or get them to install malicious software on their system. The astonishing success rate of phishing attacks makes them a favorite.

Why? More than 70% of people will follow the link to a phony website and, of those that followed the link, 30%-50% will routinely give up their usernames and passwords.

Many like to think of the network perimeter with all its firewalls and other fancy technologies as the front line in the cyber war, but the truth is there’s a whole other front.

Every single member of a company’s staff who uses email or the Internet is also on the front line and these people are generally considered a softer target than hardware or software. It’s simple: if the bad guys can get an employee to give up his or her user credentials or download some malware, they can likely waltz right past the technological controls, basically appearing as if they belong there.

When using a computer for personal functions, a user generally has to have the ability to install software and modify the system configurations. Typically, such administrative functions are not available to all users in a corporate environment.

c471994_mAs a result, even if an organization has made an effort to improve a system’s security, a user doing work on a personal computer has the ability to disable and circumvent protections and has the privileges to allow for the installation of malware.

As companies migrate toward a world of bring-your-own-device policies, some companies are developing strategies to help address these risks. But, as a rule, using a work computer for personal reasons or doing work on a personal computer (or tablet or smartphone) can significantly increase the threat level that an employer has to protect itself against.

To help their organization protect systems and data, employees need to implement some smart web browsing habits. Smart web browsing means engaging in the following activities:

Beware of downloads
Malware can be hidden, not just in applications or installation programs, but in what appear to be image and video files also. To limit the likelihood of downloading content that contains malware, only download from reputable sites. With sites that are not a household name, take the time to do a little research and see if other people have had issues.

Additionally, be sure that antivirus software is set up to automatically scan downloads. Or scan downloads manually, even when receiving them from name-brand sites, as it is not unheard of for infected files to make their way onto otherwise legitimate web sites.

This is especially true for file-sharing sites where the site owner cannot control every piece of content a user may place there.

Be wary of deceitful sites
Those running sites already breaking the law by illegally distributing copyrighted materials — like pirated music, movies or software — probably have no qualms about including malicious content in their downloads or stealing information.

Many popular web browsers today have built-in functionality that provides an alert when visiting a website that is known to be dangerous.

And if the browser doesn’t give a notice, the antivirus software may provide that function. Heed the alerts!

Employees need to protect their devices from online and in-person threats. Start by keeping the company’s system patched. Configure it to automatically apply updates or issue notifications when there are updates and then apply them as soon as possible. This doesn’t just apply to the operating system.

Keep all installed applications updated; sometimes this takes a little extra work.

Remember, the challenge of security is that the bad guy needs to find only one hole in a security system to get past it, so fix them all. Think of it as putting dead bolts on doors, but leaving the basement window wide open.

To that end, security professionals like to debate the usefulness of today’s antivirus software. And it’s true that malware continues to become more sophisticated and harder to detect. But it always amazes me how old some of the malware running around is. As a result, use antivirus software and keep it up-to-date.

Also, use a software firewall, either the Windows firewall or one provided in an antivirus package. This is especially true for laptops connected to public wireless access points at hotels or coffee shops, but it also applies to home systems. It just provides that extra layer of defense.

And finally, please, don’t ever give passwords to anyone. Be vigilant and question anything new, especially emails and forms in the web browser that request work credentials, no matter how nicely the request is made.

(Image Source: iCLIPART) Tips And Tricks

Ever since Microsoft switched Hotmail to Outlook some users have had difficulty adjusting to the changes even though it is essentially still the same, and attaching photos and files is more simple than ever before.

There is however some simple tips for those who have found the changeover confusing.

The important thing to remember is that your email address has not changed and continues to end with You can even add an alias account via

The alias makes use of the same contact list, settings and inbox as your primary email address.

Those who don’t like the default blue color scheme can also change it to suit simply by selecting the small ‘cog’ icon that can be found in the right hand corner of the Outlook window and selecting from the 18 available color schemes.

If you are writing an email that has turned out to be almost novel size but don’t have time to finish, just tap the button marked “Save Draft” on the colored Outlook menu bar.

This will save a copy to your Drafts folder and allow you to go back, finish and send it at a later time.

Staying Safe: How To Back Up Your Outlook Email Data

Your Outlook data file, also called a PST file, contains all of the data that is created and received in Outlook such as emails, contacts, notes, your to-do list, calendars and other Outlook data.

If you rely on email for your day to day work, keeping your Outlook data backed up frequently could save you hours of frustration and potentially lost data.

Over time, your email data file grows and shrinks as you receive and delete email. While not extremely common, the data file is prone to corruption – which is the most common way Outlook users can lose data.

To prevent corruption and possible data loss, always keep in mind:

Close Outlook properly – shutting down your email without going through the “File, exit” dialogue can cause file corruption.

Watch your file size – A PST file that exceeds 3gb can be problematic. Although Microsoft says newer versions of Outlook (2003 and newer) will support PST files up to 20gb, in our experience, Outlook operates best if you keep the file below 3gb.

To manually back up your Outlook data file in Windows Vista and Windows 7, follow the steps below.

1. Open “My Computer” and browse to your C:/drive.

2. Click on tools. Once the drop down menu is displayed, choose Folder Options. If the tools menu is hidden press alt on your keyboard to display it.

3. In Folder Options, click on the view tab.

4. In the middle of the window there will be a list. Under Hidden Files and Folders, check show hidden files and click ok.

5. On your C:/drive browse to the users folder, and select the user account you are using.

6. Select App Data, then Local.

7. Scroll down to the Microsoft Folder and open.

8. Select your Outlook data file. It is usually named Outlook.pst. Right click the file and select copy.

9. Open the destination of your choice, such a flash drive, or a different folder on your hard drive.

10. Right click and select paste.

11. You have successfully created a backup of your Outlook Data File.

To manually back up your Outlook data file in Windows 2000/Windows XP follow the directions listed below.

1. Open Computer and browse to your C:/drive.

2. Click on tools once the drop down menu is displayed click Folder Options.

3. In Folder Options click on the view tab.

4. In the middle of the window there will be a list.

5. Under Hidden Files and Folders check show hidden files, click ok.

6. On your C:/drive browse to Documents and Settings and select the user account that you use.

7. Select Local Settings then Application Data, and then scroll down to the Microsoft folder and open it.

8. Select your Outlook data file. It is usually named Outlook.pst. Right click the file and select copy.

9. Open the destination of your choice, such a flash drive, or a different folder on your hard drive. Then, right click and paste.

We recommend backing up your Outlook PST file at least once a week for normal users, and if you’re an email power user, daily backups make sense.