The reasons why your antivirus software does not protect you

A recent report by Microsoft shows that 75 percent of PC users today use antivirus protection. But even if you have installed security software, it is far from certain that it works optimally. Security Expert Janus R. Nielsen from the antivirus company www.mysecuritycenter.com, warns against the five most common pitfalls when using antivirus software.

The report (SIR vol 14) from Microsoft shows that PC users without antivirus protection are five times as likely to be attacked by viruses and malware than protected PCs. However, it is not a surprising conclusion, says Janus R. Nielsen. “We often experience customers who believe they are protected when they are not.” Here is his view on the five most common reasons why your antivirus software does not protect you.

1. Multiple antivirus programs
Two do not protect more than one, as they conflict with each other. They can see each other as potential threats and thereby try to fight each other. “We always advise to check if you have two antivirus programs running and if so, uninstall one,” says Janus R. Nielsen.

2. Lack of firewall
Antivirus is not the same as firewall. Antivirus is security software that can locate, identify and isolate potential virus attacks on your PC. However, firewall is a specialized system that ensures that unwelcome traffic in and out of your PC is blocked before it enters. This way hackers will not be able to vandalize and steal your files and information. According to the study “IT Security Survey 2013” conducted by AV Comparatives, 37% of the world’s PC users today have free antivirus protection installed. But since the free options rarely have firewall included, you are more exposed.

3. Expired license
Some have an antivirus program installed which has expired without them noticing it. It happens, for instance, when you buy a new PC with preinstalled security software, which often expires after 90 days. Most security software will ask if you want to renew your protection, and if you choose to ignore the message, it can automatically switch of.

4. Inactivated features
According to the report from AV Comparatives, 40 percent use paid antivirus which has both antivirus protection and firewall. However, it is important to make sure that you have all features turned on. Perhaps you have had to install a program that was not authorized by your antivirus protection, and therefore turned the software off. We have also seen examples of malware that has infected the antivirus software itself, and disabled all protection without the user knowing.

5. Phishing attacks
It is a wrong assumption to believe you are protected against everything you click on, even though you have the best antivirus program installed. Although most programs have anti-phishing included, you are not safe from cunning hackers who try to lure passwords and account details from you. Be critical when clicking on links and attachments in emails, even if they are from Paypal or your bank – or if a mail congratulates you on winning a million. In fact, 75 percent of all emails sent worldwide is spam, according to Microsoft’s report.

Janus R. Nielsen is security expert from the antivirus company www.mysecuritycenter.com. Follow the link to get a free optimization of your computer done by professional IT-experts.

Back to school technology

 

It’s time to get geared up for the return to education. Just about every parent or guardian gets that sinking feeling as the new school year approaches – what, if anything, does your child need to make the next academic year as productive as possible?

 

Many schools now accept that iPads or other similar devices can be a valuable aid to education. They are also aware that the opportunity for abuse (such as game playing and non-school related browsing) is rife. Good educational establishments have in place methods of controlling the content accessible from these devices as well as agreements with parents to limit the amount of extracurricular content the device can have. Although an iPad is an expensive item for many people, an Android device of a similar nature can be bought for much less than half the price and offers very similar functionality. One big advantage to an Android system is the massive amount of almost free software available. MSC offers a number of utilities to protect and secure the device against loss, malicious software damage and theft.

 

The laptop question: Does your child need a laptop for educational purposes? There are arguments for and against with the main con being expense. A suitable machine for education needs to have good battery life, be able to run modern applications without problems, be very portable and have a degree of future-proofing (no parent wants to buy a new laptop every term). Don’t be led astray by apparent needs, just because your kids assure you the new Macbook Air is the only machine suitable to the task you can bet your shirt that it’s more to do with form than function. That being said, an inexpensive machine suitable to the task will still set you back most of a thousand Pounds.

 

The majority of text books are now available as e-books (electronic versions of the paper version) which can be downloaded to the device. As well as these often being less expensive than the hard copy counterpart, note taking and study guides are much easier to accomplish.

 

Finally, consider buying some immediate and accessible portable storage solution, or in plain English, a USB thumb drive. There are a number of suitable devices on the market at a range of prices. MSC offer the perfect solution in two different styles, a secure USB drive with one of the most secure software solutions on the market, MYEasyLock. Take a look at our very special offer for MYSecureUSB only available to subscribers of our monthly newsletter.

 

So what kit should you be looking at …?

 

1.      Already have an iPad or something similar? Look into the options of getting the relevant text books in electronic format. As well as saving money it will be a lot less to carry around and it’s unlikely they will “forget” to take the required book to class. Remember to talk with the school/college first so you know they allow such devices – it may be they can offer you the e-books at a greatly reduced price.

 

2.      Many parents have considered a laptop as a learning aid. It is a fact that a laptop offers the best options for education (office applications, dedicated learning programs, etc.) but, an inexpensive laptop will have relatively poor battery life and is likely to be under powered. An ultrabook or Macbook air is the ideal machine but then … do you want to spend over a grand? If a suitable machine is already part of your household and it can re-assigned … great

 

3.      Money: This one has caused more problems than anything else. Consider using a credit card to issue your kids with an allowance. Almost all shops now accept (or even prefer) transactions via credit card. You can get a pre-pay credit from your local Post Office which can be topped up online. Your kids will never have their pocket money “lost” again. This is a good solution for younger and older kids.

 

4.      Facebook: Many educational institutions frown on students accessing Facebook during school hours. Talk with the school and come to an arrangement to limit access to Facebook when inappropriate. There are utilities that can restrict access between certain times and the school IT department will almost certainly block the site if it is considered a no-go area. This may also apply to other social networking sites and domains.

 

5.      USB thumb drive. Invest in a secure USB device, make sure it easy to carry and very accessible (our “key” is ideal so it can be added to a key-ring). This can be used for storing files such as homework assignments and work documents along with personal information and is secured so if it gets lost you know the data will remain secure.

 

Education is the primary key to a successful return to school; both for kids and parents. Talk with each other and try to agree a set of protocols and modes of conduct. Arrange a meeting with school teachers to discuss needs and agree on what technology is permitted and under what circumstances.

 

If you need any advice simply contact our support department who will be more than happy to discuss your needs and offer a solution.

 

Lost & found

 

An old threat to security has, once more, reared its head.

 

USB thumb drives (memory sticks, keys, etc.) are being left in company car parks, in cafes, in public parks – in fact almost anywhere a person may stumble across a “lost” USB drive.

 

The scammers buy these drives in large quantities; install trojans/malware on them and then leave them in an accessible place for people to find. The natural reaction of most people when finding one of these devices, even for the most honest of us, is to plug it into your PC and see what files may be stored there.

 

Even today, many companies and most private users have autorun enabled on their PC. Once the device is inserted it will execute the stored files and infect the machine in question. For a home user this may be anything from harmless to disastrous. The malware is often along the lines of key-logging or remote access script which will allow the scammers to gain access to any files you have stored on the machine – this can include sensitive documents, financial records and even your payment details for your credit cards and payment gateways.

 

In a company environment the damage can be much worse. The entire network can be compromised with user, super-user and admin level access being granted to some external agent. Imagine if your company’s user database was accessed by the scammers? All of your clients suddenly getting spam mails or having their accounts used illicitly.

 

How to avoid getting bitten

 

If you find a USB drive just lying around DON’T be tempted. Ideally, pass it over at your local police station or hand it over to a passing policeman. If you are on way to work, give the drive to your IT department, explaining where you found it. Let the experts examine the device and determine if it poses a threat.

 

If you must see what the device contains yourself, use a machine which does not have internet access and make sure you have autorun disabled before inserting the drive in your machine. Run any file you find in a sandbox to make sure your PC stays safe and use a good quality, reliable antivirus suite to scan the drive BEFORE using it at all.

 

Honesty is the best policy. If you find a USB drive, hand it in somewhere – it isn’t yours and the original owner may really need that drive!

 

How to safely bring your digital devices on holiday

 

There can be many pitfalls when going on holiday with your digital devices. Security expert Janus R. Nielsen from MYSecurityCenter gives his best tips on how to get safely through the holiday with your smartphone, tablet, laptop or credit cards.

 

1. Remember to backup all your files, emails and pictures before departure. It can be to an external hard disk or in the cloud. This makes you able to go on vacation with peace of mind if your stuff gets stolen.

 

2. Ensure you have written down the correct contact number to call if your card is stolen and you want to block it. Save it on your telephone and on a sticker in your suitcase so you can quickly find it. Alternatively, store important telephone numbers, passwords and pin numbers on a small and discreet USB drive. Some of them are password protected and data encrypted making it ideal for storing such important information whilst travelling.

 

3. Make sure you have installed a security app on your smartphone, that protects your data should you lose it. Many security apps today have – in addition to antivirus – a number of features that make it possible to communicate with your lost mobile by sending it a text message from another phone. You can activate an alarm remotely, block access to the content and delete important files, so that the thief has a harder time getting access to your data. These features can be found in for instance MYAndroid Protection, which also has a 30 days free trial version. Remember to use a password (besides your pin code), so your phone, tablet or maybe PC locks automatically when it is not in use.

 

4. There are also anti-theft programs for computers, they can detect, encrypt the content and unlock them. A study has shown that in the U.S. alone there were 12,000 lost laptops per week and 600,000 a year in U.S. airports, so it is worth taking precautions.

 

5. Turn off automatic roaming on your phone and tablet, if you do not want to pay high fees for using the mobile network on the Internet abroad. You can usually sign up for free on the net using wifi connections, perhaps at the hotel, which should be safe. If you have an iPhone, you can turn on “iMessage”, so you can send free SMS messages to others with iPhones. Otherwise, you can download the app “Whats app” that allows you to send text messages, images and video clips for both iPhones and other smartphones for free. However, note that if you have turned data roaming off, you will only be able to send iMessage and Whats app for free via wifi abroad.

 

6. Select the local currency and not your home currency if you pay with your credit card. There seems to be money to save by selecting the currency of your holiday destination.

 

7. Download apps like Skype or Viber if you want to call for free over wifi abroad. Otherwise you can check the roaming prices before departure, so you know what it will cost you if you need to call or send text messages the traditional way. July 1st 2012, an EU directive came into force on international calls, so it has now become cheaper to make calls within the EU.

 

Encrypted USB drives – perfect gadget for travelling

 

More and more people carry sensitive and private data on portable devices. But what about the security level?

 

“Lately we have seen an increasing demand from our customers asking for more security on their USB drives. USB drives are today used by everyone and it is one of the best selling products on any consumer IT shop, both online and retail. Therefore we have decided to release a super cool, very secure and yet very affordable USB drive”, says Janus R. Nielsen, CEO of MYSecurityCenter.
Secure and affordable:

 

He explains, that it has been his goal to launch a very secure drive at a fair price and with quite a large memory of 16 GB. The USB drive contains a technology called MYEasyLock, with password protection and military strength encryption, so only you can access your data. Despite the high security level, the stick is very easy to use. With the “drag and drop” function it is possible to move files, pictures and documents around and all data will automatically be password protected and encrypted. “Our customer is the average user and our focus has always been of “ease of use” combined with top customer service and support”, Janus R. Nielsen says.

 

The encrypted USB drives come in two different forms; a credit card or a key which makes it easy to carry around in a purse or a key bundle. So now you can travel safely and always have your passwords, bank details and other sensitive data with you.

 

Learn more about our USB drives here

 

Have a good and safe holiday!

 

The world´s most advanced super virus found – how to fight it?

 

The discovery of the new super virus Flame marks “a before and after” for the whole antivirus industry, says Janus R. Nielsen, security expert and CEO of MYSecurityCenter. He encourages the industry to rethink how we shall combat increasingly sophisticated cyber crime.

 

The world’s most advanced virus
Virus Flame, which was discovered by the Russian-based security firm Kaspersky Lab has recently surprised even the most experienced security experts. With its enormous size of 20 megabytes and its advanced codes that are likely to have taken at least five programmers working for a year to develop, it is the largest and most complex virus the world has ever seen. Its ability is indeed very impressive. It is an intelligent spyware program that can control virtually anything on your computer, it deletes itself without a trace, encrypts its own codes and organizes the data it collects. It can systematically intercept keystrokes and secretly activate the built-in microphone or webcam that exits in many laptops. It can propagate itself via network and decidedly harm the machines it has penetrated, primarily in military units, private businesses and governments.

 

We must think out of the box
“The most frightening thing is that Flame has been active since 2010 but has just recently discovered. That in itself should cause some self reflection throughout my industry, “says Janus R. Nielsen. He explains that while ordinary users should not be afraid of a virus as the Flame, he will nevertheless describe the discovery of it as a before and an after in the antivirus industry. There is according to him, no doubt that this is the kind of attack method, we will see in the future, also on millions of home PCs worldwide. “Flame is so complex and so cleverly designed that it surpasses anything we have seen so far. It is for sure not the only virus that is secretly doing damage out there, not now nor in the future. Therefore, we must ask ourselves how we can rethink the whole way that the antivirus software works. We must dare to think out of the box – we must be as innovative as the hackers. We simply have to if we want to fight them.” According to Janus R. Nielsen the antivirus developers need to continue to be proactive and operate on multiple platforms. “The antivirus industry has undergone a tremendous development since the first virus was found back in the ’70s, but now we come to a point where the professional hackers are so advanced that it puts new demands on us. It requires that we begin to think about security in a new and more comprehensive manner. This development I am looking forward to follow,” he says, adding that the safety of mobile phones must follow, as keeping smartphones secure is an even greater challenge than the PC side.

 

Global rather than national solution
But how do we in general meet the major challenges in fighting cyber crime? Janus R. Nielsen stresses the importance of standing together to solve the problems and suggests prioritizing more resources to the development of resistant operating systems. “It’s also positive that the national governments allocate funds to the area, and they are creating national cyber military units, but we must remember that this is not only a national problem. It will be much more effective if the governments focused on collaboration between existing stakeholders across national borders”, he says.

Hang up if “Microsoft” is calling you

 

Be aware of a new scam that has been making the rounds recently – scammers calling through the phone and posing as people from Microsoft, scaring victims into paying for bogus services and stealing their credit information.

 

The hackers say they are from Microsoft Customer Service and that you have a virus or a system failure on your PC. And that the error can be fixed immediately, if only you pay a small amount for repair. Besides that, they also try to get you to install a virus on your PC so they can abuse it in the future. Microsoft has therefore listed the following procedure for their PC users, in order for them to know what to alert themselves to:

 

This is how the hackers do it:

 

– The person claims he or she represents Microsoft, one of their brands as Windows / Office or one of their partners

 

– The person says they are investigating a computer problem or a virus that is registered at Microsoft on your computer

 

– He or she tells you that they can correct the error if you go to a specific website

 

– When entering the site, hackers try to take control of your PC

 

– The false representative would, as a special “service”, show the alleged problems by taking remote control of your PC

 

– Throughout the process they will persuade you to pay a fee to “repair” your PC

 

Microsoft never calls

 

Be aware that Microsoft hardly ever calls their customers unless you ask them to,and if they do so, they will never call to identify viruses or ask for personal information. So if you are exposed to that, the best advice is to hang up immediately. There is no doubt that we will see more scams using the same approach in the future – it may be a phone call from your bank or even IT support. “The best thing is to have the proper security protocols in place so you can verify the identity of the people who are calling you, says Marion Williams, Customer Service Manager at MYSecurityCenter. “Ask them for some personal data on you. Can they provide you with a customer number? Which department are they calling from? What is the address and phonenumber? Can you call them back? That gives you time to look up the information to see if it actually belongs to the company.” It is also important to keep your system safe by having a good security program installed. “With a good security program your PC will check if the websites are safe or not”, she says. Please feel free to contact support@mysecuritycenter.com if you wish to discuss how to protect your PC the best way.

 

MYSecurityCenter Customer Satisfaction Survey shows Excellent Results.

 

Last month MYSecurityCenter conducted a Customer Satisfaction Survey which was sent to all of our clients in 15 countries. The purpose of the survey was to get some feedback on our products, support and service in general in order to improve wherever possible.

We asked questions such as: How would you rate our products, service or support? Would you recommend MYSecurityCenter to a friend? Do you find our website easy to navigate? As you can see on the graphics below, the feedback was very positive and so were the additional comments. Here are a few examples of what our customers said about our service:

“No other security firm gives personal named contact and follow up.”

“Very good support”

“I’ve not had many occasions to use the services but when required, it´s been excellent.”

“Easy to use help guides, only had to install once and then it is renewed automatically annually- saves me having to worry about renewing updating as it is done automatically. Plus when I want to check something the help center is excellent and provides me reassurance at a glance that everything is OK with my PC.”

“I found customer service second to none when I had a problem loading this program onto my laptop using Windows 7.”

“Always fixes my Laptop which is now 3 years old.”

“It´s nice to know you´re on the end of the phone to help”.

Marion Williams, Customer Service Manager, says: “I am so pleased with the results because it shows that we are doing something right. Every day I see my colleagues working hard to deliver a good service and trying to answer and resolve every little issue that the clients may have. I am very proud of our team.”

MYSecurityCenter’s enquête rond klanttevredenheid geeft fantastische feedback.

 

Vorige maand hield MYSecurityCenter in maar liefst 15 landen een enquête rond klanttevredenheid. We wilden graag de opinie van al onze klanten kennen over onze producten en diensten, met de bedoeling, waar we kunnen, bij te sturen en te verbeteren.

 

Vorige maand hield MYSecurityCenter in maar liefst 15 landen een enquête rond klanttevredenheid. We wilden graag de opinie van al onze klanten kennen over onze producten en diensten, met de bedoeling, waar we kunnen, bij te sturen en te verbeteren.

 

“Geen enkel andere beveiligingsfirma biedt een dergelijke persoonlijke assistentie en opvolging.”

 

“Zeer goede support”

 

“Ik heb de klantenondersteuning nog niet zo vaak moeten raadplegen, maar wanneer het echt nodig was, werd ik fantastisch geholpen.”

 

“Gemakkelijke aanwijzingen, moest het maar een keer installeren en daarna wordt de licentie automatisch verlengd – spaart me heel wat tijd uit en hoef me verder geen zorgen te maken over de beveiliging van mijn computer. Bij twijfels ga ik naar het MY Help menu binnenin de software, zo weet ik zeker dat mijn pc optimaal beveiligd is.”

 

“Ik vond de klantenservice subliem, toen ik een probleem had om het programma op mijn laptop met Windows 7 te downloaden.”

 

“Houdt mijn 3 jaar oude laptop altijd in perfecte staat.”

 

“Het is een hele geruststelling te weten dat er iemand aan de andere kant van de lijn is, die kan helpen indien nodig”.

 

 

Marion Williams, Manager van het departement klantenservice, zegt: “Ik ben zo tevreden over deze feedback, want het toont dat we een goede service leveren. Elke dag zie ik dat ons team hard werkt om de aanvragen zo snel en efficiënt mogelijk te behandelen, hoe groot of klein het probleem ook is. ik ben terecht enorm trots op ons team.”