Monday, May 14, 2012

It does not matter what O/S you use when it comes to malware

Now that the Apple people got a reality check on how secure their O/S really was when they got hit with flashback.  We all may want to think about securing our machines.  It does not matter what O/S you run, we call can have our machine taken over by malware.  A few things that we all should be doing to at least slow down and make the lives of malware authors a bit harder:

  • Keep your machines up-to-date by applying patches when they are available.
  • Never open attachments from people you don't know and be skeptical about attachments when you get one from someone you know and you didn't ask for that file.  
    • Assume that senders are not as vigilant and check with them before opening.
    • Assume that the from account name was forged.
  • Never believe a popup window in your browser stating your software is out-of-date and install the update via that convenient link.
  • Never believe those popups or messages while browsing that they scanned your system and you are (or could be) infected.  
  • Never run an account with admin priviliges.  Create a simple user account that cannot add, change or delete programs.
  • Do regular backups of your files.  External USB hard drives are inexpensive.  When you are done remove the backup and do not leave it connected all of the time to your machines.  If you do get malware at least you have a chance that the backup is still clean.
  • Use a simple firewall on your computer at a minimum.  
  • If your router has the option to enable a firewall then use that firewall too.
  • Assume that your machine will get taken over and make plans on how you will rebuild your system and recover your documents.
  • Install, use and keep up-to-date an anti-virus package and scan on a regular basis.  It really does not matter now what O/S you use, assume malware writers can take over your machine.
  • If someone hands you a CD, DVD, USB Memory stick or USB drive scan it before doing anything else.  Never assume that the media is clean.
At home every machine is running A-V software (for windows I like AVG as it gives good protect, fast running and not a resource hog).

I assume that sooner or later one or more of my computers at home will get infected and I will have to wipe and rebuild the system(s).  I do run backups on all of the machines so while I may lose some recent documents or email it won't be a total loss.