Anyone can be a victim of hacking — including large enterprises, small businesses, and individuals.
If you’re aware of that, you probably have an antivirus installed on your computer. However, you might have been wondering — does it even make a difference?
Not all cyberattacks are visible. You won’t always get a ransom note or get a notification warning you that someone is attempting to get into your email or banking account. That’s why it’s difficult to know if your antivirus works.
For businesses that have multiple devices they need to protect from breaches, cybersecurity is even less straightforward.
They need multiple tools to protect their network.
Choosing a reputable antivirus and knowing how to use it is the first step, but how can individuals and businesses know if their antivirus software does the job? Besides antivirus, what are some cybersecurity basics you should know about?
Let’s jump right in.
Choosing Reputable Antivirus Software
Besides the obviously wrong choices for an antivirus, such as the first free software that you come across that possibly contains viruses, how do you select the best antivirus for your needs?
Firstly, avoid unknown brands of antivirus. A simple Google search goes a long way. Find out how long they have been in business and check testimonials to make sure that the program has worked for others.
Consult Antivirus Testing Labs to confirm if the software you’re interested in is high in quality and does the job.
Before you shell out on antivirus software, check if your operating system already has a built-in antivirus. For example, some versions of Windows will include one.
Check if it has malware, adware, and spyware protection. Those are some of the most common types of cyber threats that your device should be protected against.
How Can You Make Sure That Your Antivirus Works
Every antivirus program is different.
What you can do is check if the antivirus is active and that you have installed all the updates. Continuous updates are vital to keep up with new threats.
Scan the computer using said antivirus and schedule future scans in case you forget to do so manually.
Try to download the EICAR test file. Does your antivirus block this attempt? If it does, it’s working properly. Don’t worry, it can’t install real malicious viruses on your computer using this file.
How Can Businesses Check If Their Anti-hacking Tools Do the Job?
For businesses, it is a bit different. To protect their organization, they need more advanced tools to protect their business from cyber breaches.
It’s estimated that companies an average of 35 security points that detect the latest hacking attempts. Security points include any tools, software, and protocols that protect the company. Therefore, on larger scale, it’s difficult to manually track if the tools really work.
For example, Continuous Security Validation checks your security points to see if they truly work how they should.
That way, you are always one step ahead of hackers because you find and patch up flaws even before they have time to find them.
To ensure that a network of organizations is fully protected, it tests it by simulating attacks that hackers have used since the beginning of the internet. As cybercriminals are getting more cunning every day, it also tests against recent attacks.
A resource that explains recent hacking methods, the MITRE ATT&CK Framework, is used to decide against which attacks should networks be tested next.
For scaled businesses, protected networks are the ones that are regularly tested against the latest cyber-attacks.
Taking Your Security to the Next Level
An antivirus doesn’t protect you from all attacks. You also need a firewall, foolproof passwords, accept updates regularly, and be able to recognize common hacking attempts.
A firewall doesn’t allow a malicious virus to enter your system, and it can detect the attack even before the virus gets into your network. Antivirus software can remove and mitigate threats after the malware finds its way to your device.
Setting up strong passwords is the most straightforward and easiest way to protect your devices. Avoid using your password for multiple accounts, don’t include any dictionary words or your personal information.
You should also change them regularly – every couple of months. Even if hackers steal your passwords, they might not use them right away, or they might be in your system without you noticing.
Another thing that people tend to ignore that could lead to a breach is not accepting updates from the programs you use. Companies continually work on their security, and new updates might come with the solution that fixes flaws they have found and mitigated.
An example of a hacking attempt you should recognize is phishing. It’s mostly done via email and has multiple variations that have one thing in common — they impersonate authorities and people you trust to gain access to your sensitive information.
Hackers might send you a link you click on to install a virus on your computer or ask for your credit card or passwords that you use for work. Even if you think you wouldn’t fall for that, you might not think twice if an email is from your boss or credit card company.
Avoid Putting All Your Eggs in One Antivirus
It’s not enough to just have an antivirus on your computer.
Cybersecurity experts also advise on layered cybersecurity. You need more tools to cover the basics because an antivirus program cannot protect you from all attacks.
For businesses, cybersecurity gets more complex. This is because have multiple security points that they need to check and make sure that the tools they have are being used as they’re intended.
Therefore, organizations require more sophisticated ways to test how their systems would hold up against cyberattacks.