Modern antivirus programs offer real-time protection against viruses, spyware, malware and Trojans. In fact, the most advanced programs scan for patterns of software behavior that are known to occur in malicious programs and stop them in their tracks.
However, despite all the touted benefits of antivirus software, there are a number of security areas where your antivirus won’t be of much help and you may need to take other measures to mitigate the risk.
1. Unknown Threats
Creators of malicious code are just as good at their jobs as their computer security counterparts. They test their malware thoroughly and study how antivirus programs work in order to devise new methods to beat them. Attackers constantly study software programs to find vulnerabilities they can exploit before the software makers find and patch them. It’s a cat and mouse game where the cat never seems to get the mouse. In 2015 alone, there were over 84 million malware samples detected by a leading computer security firm. That’s a staggering revelation of the sheer size, resources and determination of the underground malware industry. In fact, there is a raise in virus and threats online affecting the crucial data on your system. Therefore, it is hightime for you to run data recovery software like EaseUS on your PC.
2. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)
As opposed to regular threats whose intention is commonly to cause damage to the network or computer, the main aim of an Advanced Persistent Threat is to steal high value information such as trade or military secrets, financial data or information that could be used for extortion. APT targets are usually big corporations and governments. Perpetrators are large groups of organized criminals and in some cases, governments. Many governments secretly run APT programs targeting local and foreign companies as well other governments.
APT perpetrators have the singular goal of remaining undetected for as long as possible and gain ongoing access. To gain access to a system, an APT attack will typically begin with spear fishing or social engineering. Spear fishing is similar to email phishing, the only difference being that in spear fishing, an email message appears to have been sent by a trusted person within the organization. For example, a group of employees could receive an email that appears to come from a network administrator asking them to log onto a phony page and update their employee details. The fake page captures the login data and the perpetrators immediately access the network and establish numerous back doors by moving laterally across the network. It only takes one employee to fall for the ploy for it to be successful.
One of the most effective ways to detect an APT is to study outbound data. Any sudden and unexplained increase in outbound could be an indication of an ongoing attack. Other tell tale signs could be an unusually high number of spear fishing and social engineering attempts as well as a sudden increase in late night log-ons when few or no staff work at night.
Mitigation can also be achieved through constant training and retraining of staff to recognize spear fishing and social engineering, and to report any attempts immediately.
3. Infected Devices
In the last few years there has been a proliferation in the use of mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops. Around the world, most people now access the Internet more times in a day using a mobile device as opposed to a traditional desktop computer. This has created a vulnerability outside the initial intention of antivirus software.
For example, businesses operating Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs where employees use their own hardware, are at risk. An employee using an infected device to connect to a network can inadvertently spread malware throughout the network. The same thing can occur when a guest connects to your home network. Usage of free data recovery software like EaseUS can help you restore the network settings stored on your computer’s hard disk.
The risks presented by BYOD can be mitigated by:
- A dedicated firewall.
- Tightening network security.
- Enforcing malware scans for new and existing devices connecting to the network.
4. Inside Job
The final risk your free antivirus software will not be able to help you with is an inside job. In this case, every employee is a potential threat that the employer has to live with. And, administrators pose the biggest threat. Perpetrators may be driven by any number of motivations running the gamut from malice and financial gain to external blackmail. Inside jobs are difficult to guard against. The best mitigation is to have a system of checks and balances such as the maker checker rule. Also, staff that occupy sensitive positions should be continuously vetted to ensure they don’t pose a security threat.
It is clear that in addition to having the best antivirus systems in place, there is a need to understand the threat landscape and remain constantly updated on emerging computer threats and best practices on mitigation.