Fraudsters can target a business of any size with a computer virus that carries harmful software. This is often called malware, which stands for malicious software.
A virus can hide in a link or a download in an email or text, or on a website.
They can cause serious harm and do things such as:
- Lock, break or take control of a device.
- Steal, delete or encrypt files and data.
- Gain access to other systems or services.
To protect your business, create a multi-layered defence plan. Write the plan down so all of your staff know what to do.
Ransomware is one type of virus that fraudsters can use to block files or data on your device until you pay a ransom. They can also threaten to publish your data.
In this video, we show how a ransomware virus can attack a business.
Tips to beat computer viruses
Make a copy of all your files and data to keep in a secure location. Try to find a location that’s away from your daily work place.
Have more than one back-up and several locations to store them in. You could use an external hard drive or device, or a cloud service. After you use a back-up device, make sure it’s disconnected from your network and systems.
Back-up on a regular basis. This can help you to recover data if things go wrong.
Your IT provider or IT team should be able to help reduce the chance of a virus getting through. Ask if they can:
- Filter your mail and block spam.
- Stop traffic to suspicious websites.
- Block harmful code.
- Give safe browsing lists within your web browsers.
If work devices use apps, make sure they come from sources you can trust. And check that an app is safe before you download it.
Install an antivirus on all work devices. Make sure you keep it up-to-date.
Scan at least once a week and follow its advice. It should tell you if a site is safe to visit, or a file is unsafe to download or open.
Keep your firewall on at all times. This helps to stop people from breaking into your computer.
Update the operating system (OS) on all your devices as soon as updates are available. The OS runs all of the programs and apps. It also helps to keep it safe from a virus.
Keep all the software you use and your internet browser up-to-date.
If you need to use a back-up to recover your data, first scan it for any viruses. Only connect to a virus free device.
Make sure you keep the back-up device or product up-to-date and secure.
Have an action plan ready in case of a virus attack. Know who to contact and how to react.
And consider taking out cyber insurance to cover your business.
Learn more about how to protect your business from viruses on the National Cyber Security Centre.