August 12, 2021

Anti-Virus protects computers against hackers

By Aaron G.

It’s not every day that your trusted anti-virus software announces they are end-of-life. These announcements are rare and come with a plethora of questions. “When is the last update coming?” “How much time do I have to prepare?” “Where can I go to find a replacement?”

End-of-life means the program will no longer update. Virus definitions remain as they are. In simple terms, anti-virus programs at end-of-life no longer protect against the latest threats.

We got the same news when Symantec Endpoint Protection announced their immediate end-of-life last year. We depended on their services for many years. The change was definitely unexpected and brought with it a lot of work.

ActioNet develops and maintains critical software for our federal customers across the globe. Our solution must work large-scale to protect data anywhere and everywhere. The IT Team sprung to action researching the best solutions- fast- to protect our data.

Our journey for virus protection was a long one and could help you when searching for your next anti-virus solution.

Protecting E-mail from Phishing and Malware

E-mail phishing attacks doubled from 2019 to 2020. The trend continues the further we get into 2021. Without Symantec as our anti-virus we had to find a solution with phishing in mind.

E-mail phishing is when a user receives an e-mail with fake credentials in hopes of getting passwords or information. Most phishing attempts can be spotted by closely looking at the message. The sender address might be wrong or links send you to the wrong site. Still, even one wrong move can spell disaster to any company. Worse yet, every employee must be vigilant in spotting phishing attempts. Otherwise they might cause a security breach with a single stray click.

Anti-Virus is necessary to protect from phishing attacks

E-mail phishing attacks are common and can affect anyone

When searching for a new anti-virus, you must find a program that protects against e-mail phishing and malware. For this purpose our solution is Ironscales Anti-Phishing. Their service includes training campaigns, phishing reports, and automatic malware scans. Dangerous e-mails get scanned and deleted before they ever hit user mailboxes. Even if an e-mail slips through the cracks, users can identify and report a phishing attempt. It’s definitely a win/win.

Disguise Data using a VPN

VPN, or virtual private network, is a service that disguises your internet data. VPNs have a lot of benefits, including location disguising, encryption, and secure data transfers. Hackers will need to try millions of combinations when trying to crack the VPN encryption to access your data. Just by adding a VPN you can increase your safety online tenfold.

VPN protection encrypts data

VPNs encrypt data to protect it from hackers

ActioNet has always used a VPN service to keep our files safe when moving them through our servers. We can rest easy knowing only those allowed to see our files are able to do so.

Fill Gaps with Windows Defender

Windows Defender is a free anti-virus software available to all Windows OS users. In the past premium virus protection software reigned supreme, but that has since changed. While Windows Defender isn’t the best software out there it’s still a great free alternative.

ActioNet adopted Windows Defender to fill the gaps left after our implementing Ironscales and a VPN. With their regular updates and virus scans, Windows Defender can be trusted to spot any potential threats to your system. Best yet, if Windows Defender is connected to OneDrive you can be protected from ransomware attacks.

Consider Additional Options

By no means is this a one-size-fits-all solution for everybody needing a new anti-virus. When searching for protection for your systems it’s important to take your needs into account.

If money is a concern, search for free anti-virus and VPN solutions. If you’re looking for more security, maybe adding multi-factor authentication or a big data solution to your routine is the way to go. Most importantly, stay vigilant in staying head of new threats. If you are careful and update your security protocols regularly you are likely to stay safe online.