Prevent viruses and other malware

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Not a day goes by without hearing or reading about (new) viruses that cause trouble and damage to companies. The collective term for all software that is intentionally malicious is malware.

Protect yourself against viruses and other malware

Some malware (in Dutch) is deliberately distributed to damage systems or equipment, to steal data or trade secrets, or to extort entrepreneurs with ransomware (in Dutch). An example of a malware attack is the WannaCry attack that infected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries.

What is malware?

Malware is malicious software that disrupts computer systems, collects information, or encrypts it. There are several ways malware gets access to a computer, smartphone, or network. A user can open an infected email or attachment, visit a bad website, or open an infected file via a flash drive, for example. Once the malware is inside, it infects the software it is looking for and then spreads easily to other devices or users.

Why this basic principle?

By protecting yourself against viruses and other malware, you prevent malicious persons and/or organisations from outside from causing damage to your devices, software, or data via 'bad software'. You also prevent them from taking control of your systems and then extorting your company to pay ransom. So, it is in the interest of your business continuity to take adequate measures.

What should you do?

There are 4 ways to protect yourself from malware:

1. Promote safe employee behaviour

The cyber resilience of your company depends on the behaviour of employees. Employees can unintentionally cause major damage to the company by connecting an infected flash drive, being careless with (weak) passwords, or not recognising a phishing email (in Dutch). Are your employees sufficiently aware of the dangers and possible consequences?

2. Use an antivirus program

An antivirus program (in Dutch) scans your devices for the presence of malware. A paid virus scanner is regularly updated by the supplier. This way it also protects your company against the latest known viruses. Did you know that by using an antivirus program you also indirectly protect the devices of your customers and other entrepreneurs? Many viruses use an email program to spread themselves. You can then infect others via email without your knowledge. An antivirus program prevents this.

3. Install apps consciously

If you want to use business apps on your (business) tablet or smartphone, the following tips are important:
  • Only install apps from a reliable source, such as the download environments of Android and Apple. In these environments there is a (limited) check on the reliability of apps;
  • Only install apps that are really necessary for your business. The more apps you install, the more likely you are to get unwanted intrusions;
  • Avoid installing free apps, such as games and leisure apps in a business environment. For these apps you often 'pay' by giving away your personal information. That is usually the revenue model behind free apps.
  • When installing an app, you are often asked to access other features on your device. That could be the camera, location data, your contact list, or even your payment options. Do not give all access that is requested by default, but think about what is really necessary for good use of this app. This limits the risk of information leaking and reduces the chance of you becoming a victim of a hacking attack.

4. Limit software installation options

Are your employees allowed to install software on company computers themselves? By limiting these options, you can prevent infected programs from being installed that could potentially infect your corporate network.


Read more about the 5 basic principles of running a secure digital business.

Questions relating to this article?

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