Roll up roll up! It’s that time again, #FantasticForumFriday!

This week we speak to Jonathan from DataSolutions (@IEdatasolutions), who were awarded with Best Specialist Distributor of the Year at the 14th annual Tech Excellence Awards for 2014 (and are nominated again this year too!). They are experts in Virtualisation, Security and Unified Communications.

Hi Jonathan, thanks for joining us today! You’re here to give us the lowdown on I.T. security and being safe online so let’s kick it off! 

  1. What would you say are the most common threats online that people are not aware of?

I think at this stage people are well aware of typical email spam attacks and traditional viruses but may not be quite as aware of similar attacks that come through social media. A very effective way of making someone click on a piece of malware is to send it to them from a trusted source. People generally ignore and delete email from a dubious looking sender but if it comes from a friend or colleague the chances are much higher that they will take the email and its contents more seriously. With this in mind it’s important to be careful when accessing files or online applications and particularly when downloading and opening new programs from the internet.

 

It’s important to be careful when accessing files or online applications and particularly when downloading and opening new programs from the internet.

 

 

  1. How would you advise companies and individuals to choose an Antivirus Solution?

As well as installing an AV product on the company’s endpoints which I do think is important I think it’s also necessary to deploy a security appliance at the gateway that can intercept these type of threats before they actually hit the endpoint. As well as acting as a world class firewall an appliance from CheckPoint for example can also do Antivirus control, URL Filtering, Anti-Bot and Anti-Spam. The size of these appliances ranges from the small home office to large enterprise.

 

I think it’s also necessary to deploy a security appliance at the gateway that can intercept these type of threats before they actually hit the endpoint.

 

  1. What is your home security set-up like?

I have a small CheckPoint firewall that all devices are protected by. I also have a multiuser Symantec security package for all the computers in the house (laptops, PCs and Macs). Another area of IT security at home that people forget about is using a strong password on their home WiFi network. I usually advise to use 12 characters or more and a combination of numbers and letters in both cases.

 

People forget about using a strong password on their home WiFi network. I usually advise to use 12 characters or more and a combination of numbers and letters in both cases.

 

  1. What does being “vulnerable” online mean?

Every user is vulnerable online to some degree but it depends on a number of factors. The nature the websites we browse to plays a huge factor in this. The recent popularity of  torrents and downloading illegal copyrighted material has opened a window of opportunity for cybercriminals. A large amount of this material is either a piece of malware disguised as something else (movie, TV show, etc.) or it may even be exactly what the user is looking for but the file also contains a virus that is installed in the background.

Another area of vulnerability is the misuse of passwords. Wherever possible 2 factor authentication should be used to access important accounts online. If this is not possible make sure to use a different password for each of your online accounts especially your primary email account which all other accounts can be controlled from i.e. if you reset a social media account password the link to perform the action is sent to your email.

Wherever possible 2 factor authentication should be used to access important accounts online.

 

 

  1. How do you spot malware or something phishy on your computer?

Through simple habits like performing routine virus scans and using a real time malware detector, either at the gateway or local to the machine you can drastically improve the chances of your computer staying clear of infection.

performing routine virus scans and using a real time malware detector can drastically improve the chances of your computer staying clear of infection.

 

 

Wow, thank you Jonathan for that insight into being safe online both at home or in the workplace. Our readers will (I hope) take heed of your advice!

 

DataSolutions has been supporting and serving the IT Channel in Ireland since 1991 and is considered to be the leading distributor in the Irish marketplace for solutions in Virtualisation, Security and Unified Communications. 

Follow DataSolutions on Twitter and check out their website here.

 

Thanks for reading!

*If you are interested in taking a trial of our eLearning course on I.T. Security, click here.

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