Your company might not be a target of world-wide hacker organizations, but don’t think that means your computer systems are safe and secure from threats. Malware is prevalent and can affect any size company, big or small; a new, unique malware threat emerges almost every half second on average. Arming your company to fight malware threats means using technology to protect your internal computer systems and educating employees on the best practices to stay safe.

Malware is a general term that describes viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, adware, rootkits, and other unwanted software or programs. Once a malware program has gained access to a device, it can disrupt normal computing operations, collect information and control system resources.

Malware programs are being produced at an alarming rate and are often transmitted via emails, instant messages and website pop-ups. To protect your personal files from being stolen or deleted, consider the following safety tips:

  1. Avoid opening or replying to emails or text messages from unknown sources.
  2. Download files from reputable sources whenever possible.
  3. Turn Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth off when you are not using them.
  4. Do not share your mobile phone number on public websites and social networks.
  5. Avoid jailbreaking (modifying a device to remove manufacturer-imposed restrictions) your smartphone.

It is also important to have trusted anti-virus and anti-spyware programs installed on company devices. These programs should be set to perform scans on a regular basis for unwanted and harmful programs. Often it is best to perform virus scans overnight, when the computer is not needed for work use.

Some of the top sources of malware programs are the most popular and widely used features of the Internet, including email, social networking, and search engines. Avoid employees visiting these sites to potentially exposing computers and your networks to malware program. You can implement organization-wide computer protections such as blocking certain websites. This would prevent employees from falling for fake anti-virus scams, which often display a pop-up window claiming that they must install a program or run a virus scan, which instead installs a virus program onto their computer.

Employee communications should be used to inform workers of the potential dangers of malware. Make sure your information security workers are keeping informed on the latest trends and developments in malware hazards. Let employees know about new threats and at-risk websites so they can avoid exposing their computers to them.