Software viruses, known as ‘malware’, are created, and distributed with malicious intent by fraudsters trying to infect your technology. Each virus has a different purpose, but they are typically designed to steal your data for monetary gain or encrypt your data so that you agree to pay money to access it. This second scenario takes its name from hostage taking and is therefore called ransomware. In some extreme cases, data has been entirely erased just so a hacker can enjoy a perverse thrill.
“Cybercrime offences reported by individuals and businesses in the UK have risen 23% over the past 12 months” (Office for National Statistics)
In the desktop/laptop world the perceived wisdom has long been that the closed “walled garden” of the Apple ecosystem meant that they were far less likely to be compromised than those running a PC on the more open Microsoft Windows operating system. But as the popularity and sales of Macs have risen so has the sophistication of criminals and malware designers who now have Mac users in their sights.
“Cybercrime costs the UK billions of pounds, causes untold damage, and threatens national security” (National Crime Agency)
The first rule of protecting your machines is to keep your operating system up to date with the latest version. Each new version comes with security updates that both Microsoft and Apple distribute to combat whatever new and improved virus has been designed to attack them. Operating system updates are important to protect you. They are not “marketing fluff” as many people think so try to make sure you keep up to date (with some YouTube tutorials if required).
Let us know in your comments below if you would like IPS to deliver some of this training in 2021
However, operating system updates are usually not frequent enough to keep up with new threats we face as technology users. Indeed, the fog and confusion caused by Covid-19 has created plenty of opportunities for criminals to try all manner of tricks to access our data and personal details in 2020.
The singular focus of companies who sell anti-virus software allows them to stay up to date with emerging threats and modern anti-virus products are now able to update themselves automatically – which means you have one less thing to worry about once you have yours up and running.
“….adding anti-virus protection beyond what’s built in (the device) ranges from a good idea to an absolute necessity.” (PC Mag UK, 2020)