Best Practices for Avoiding Malicious Software
CryptoPrevent IS a robust anti-virus/anti-malware software supplement, filling a huge gap that exists with traditional security solutions to provide protection against a growing multitude of new and emerging ransomware and other malicious software threats. CryptoPrevent is NOT a replacement for anti-virus software, firewalls, or other security solutions, nor does it render backup software or user education useless. As a company composed primarily of experienced professionals from the PC repair industry, we believe strongly in a layered security approach, combined with comprehensive backup software that is tested regularly, and user education focusing at a minimum on safe web browsing and email usage habits.
There is no software that will protect you in all cases. Malicious software is forever evolving, and it will always be a cat and mouse game with both sides playing ‘catch up’ no matter which side of the situation you are on.
That being said, there are more steps you can take to protect yourself even further, and to easily recover when something does slip through various defenses:
1. Backups – This is one of the most important steps you can take, and the most often overlooked or incorrectly implemented. There are many options, so some personal research will need to be done to learn what best suits your particular needs, lifestyle and price point. Windows includes it’s own backup utilities (in later versions more than one, though not always easy to find or implement) and there are many 3rd party vendors offering solutions as well. If you would like more assistance in choosing a solution, we would recommend contacting one of the qualified technicians in our Tech Directory.
A major issue with implementing backups is periodically verifying that they work as expected, including restoring the backed up data. You must ensure your backup processes are working as intended in both backup AND restore operations, and you will appreciate having the knowledge and experience to restore data from them in a time of crisis.
Finally, it is also important to have multiple backups and even multiple locations to store them. If you have backups stored on your system, ransomware can attempt to encrypt these as well, so disconnecting external drives containing backups and/or having offsite or secure cloud based backups is highly recommended.
2. Active/Updated Anti-Virus Software – CryptoPrevent can provide very effective protection for your system, but it is not a replacement for having active and current anti-virus software! CryptoPrevent is designed as a supplement to other existing forms of security software, and uses several methods of protection that are very different from traditional anti-virus software; that being said, it is not designed to replace the traditionally proven forms of protection. Consult our qualified technicians in the Tech Directory for additional support on choosing the best option for you.
3. Network and System Level Firewalls – Having firewalls at both the point of entry/exit to the internet as well as on the local systems themselves greatly increases your chances of preventing malicious attacks. Most routers and even Windows itself have firewalls built in and enabled by default and should be left on! There are also 3rd party options for firewalls at both the network and local system level that can greatly improve protections beyond the capabilities provided by most home routers and software firewall abilities. Again consult our qualified technicians in the Tech Directory for additional support on choosing the best option for your environment.
4. Network Share Permissions – Most ransomware will try to encrypt files inside shared folders it may find on your network. You can limit damage with network permissions for access control, by restricting write access only to users and groups who absolutely need it. Anyone needing to access files in these locations can still do so with read-only access, but they could not modify the files; a protocol can be established for submission of the files to read-only shares by users without the write access. Note this would not be a convenient or effective option in large environments or anywhere shared access to data is required in real-time.
5. User Education and Safe Internet Practices – When it comes down to it, this is by far the best protection against malicious infections of most all types. Especially when combined with CryptoPrevent and the above items, this knowledge will prevent a large majority of infections. If you manage a group of users it is very important and in some cases a requirement to make sure they are aware of this information as well.
There are many items this topic will encompass, and many details for each; we can only cover a few in this FAQ, but some of the most important ones are:
- Don’t open email attachments unless you are expecting to receive one. If you do receive an attachment you are unsure of, and you trust the sender of the email, reply to the address for further information before downloading or opening the attachment. Even if it is from a trusted source, it is always a possibility that they have been infected and were not aware of the message being sent out on their behalf. This is actually the most common means of system infection to this day.
- Don’t open suspicious links in social media or on the web in general. This is similar to email but instead of attachments, links are used to direct towards malicious files that will infect your system. This is another very common means of infection.
- Don’t download/stream pirated media or install pirated software. Theses items are often hosted/provided by those with some type of criminal intent. The saying that “Nothing in life is free” generally applies online as well; if a product or service (including information/blog content) isn’t supported by advertisements, or it doesn’t promote other for-profit products and services, then it will normally have some other means of revenue, and that may very well include infecting your system with malicious software for profit.
There are many more safe practices to learn and good habits to develop! To learn more, you can consult a qualified technician in the Tech Directory for additional information on ways to stay safe on the internet and protect yourself.
We recommend our Tech Directory so highly because these are technicians or shops that subscribe to our flagship product d7II. By using this product they are in our eyes highly qualified technicians already, and should be able to assist you easily in any of the above items. We are also more than happy to help where we can, but please remember we are mainly available to support our products and not to provide broad and general technical support. We feel this is best left to the professionals in our Tech Directory!