Lost data from malware and viruses...

One of the biggest headaches for computer users, from the individual with a mobile phone to the largest corporate and government computer, is an attack from malware, viruses and hackers. At one end of the scale it may be a minor inconvenience from a mischievous juvenile, through to criminal gangs who wish to extort money from the unwary. It may even be very competent geeks who wish to enhance their credibility by hacking into the most difficult systems, not for financial gain but to enhance their credibility among their peers.

Government organisations may often wish to disrupt the critical functions of utilities, defence systems, research and development and manufacturing of sensitive materials such as plutonium for nuclear weapons from another country from whom they feel threatened . This is often referred to as cyber warfare.

Protection from these attacks is becoming more necessary at all levels. Government agencies and companies are spending vasts amounts of money insulating their computers and processes from these attacks. Whilst individual computer users are well aware of the threats.

In order for the individual to protect their data from such an attack the most prudent and basic advice is to install a firewall. This should be not only be between their computer and internet, but also all other data entry device such as USB stick, DVD, hard or tape drive.

There are several organizations which offer these firewalls and it would be prudent to select a well know and proven application. They are often offer free of charge for a basic solution. These are normally satisfactory but they are bait to get the user to eventually purchase a more comprehensive package. You only get what you pay for so it is up to the individual to decide what protection they require and how much they are prepared to pay for it.

These application packages are normally for a limited period and require to be purchased again after a few years. They can be acquired over the internet and if paid by credit card it may become difficult to cancel any further installments. If it is paid by debit card the user has much more control over future payments.

One of the benefits of these packages is that they should update the protection automatically on a regular basis. They will analyse any new viruses or malware that become a threat and automatically update on a timely basis.

Even if a firewall has been installed it is most prudent the the user uses common sense by not downloading malicious software inadvertently. One of the most common attacks is from fake emails which request the user to click on an attachment or subject which if executed, will download malware. If in doubt about the authenticity of an email do not click on any request within the content. If an app or a new software package is to be purchased ensure it is from a reputable source.