Your first line of defense against outside threats
- Antivirus software detects and responds to various types of malware (malicious software), including viruses, worms and other programs designed to damage or disrupt a computer.
- The software can be purchased at any store that sells computer software or online at antivirus software websites.
- Antivirus software examines your computer looking for known viruses using a library of definitions and cures to remove threats. Antivirus software will automatically update its library to stay current as new threats and protections emerge.
- Antivirus software looks for suspicious computer processing behavior to prevent threats that are either new variants of existing threats or brand new threats altogether. It also prevents suspicious code from executing and blocks access to infected files.
Another advantage of antivirus software is that you can buy a perpetual license (with annual renewals). This enables your computer to continually receive updates that protect against the latest threats. Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union believes the license is a good investment, as the annual renewal fee is often less than the initial purchase of the antivirus software.
Stop criminals from obtaining your sensitive data
- Spyware is a type of program that monitors a user’s computer activity, collects information about a user without their knowledge, and then provides that information to a third party.
- Spyware can be benign (like collecting information in order to show the user a targeted advertisement) or malicious (like collecting information in order to commit fraud).
- The most dangerous spyware is usually combined with a trojan (a malicious program hidden within another program that appears to be safe) or other malware and spread by criminals trying to obtain passwords, user IDs, account numbers and other sensitive data in order to commit fraud.
- Anti-spyware software typically works in two ways. It prevents spyware programs from collecting information on your computer and providing it to unknown parties. And it detects and removes spyware from your computer using a library of spyware file definitions and cures.
- Anti-spyware software can be purchased at any store that sells computer software or online at anti-spyware software websites.
Spyware collects data and shares it with outside parties without your knowledge. It becomes more dangerous when combined with malware and spread by cyber criminals. That’s why Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union believes it’s important to have both antivirus and anti-spyware protection.
Get protection against all network attacks
- Firewalls are systems that help prevent unauthorized access to and from computers. They help protect against attacks across any network – the Internet, your home network, and even wireless networks, like at the airport, library or work.
- Software firewalls are popular for individual home use. In fact, operating systems, like Microsoft Windows and Mac, often come with built-in software firewalls. If not already “built in” to a computer, software firewalls can be loaded onto any user’s computer.
- Hardware firewalls provide a strong degree of protection and are often used by businesses or users with networked computers. These physical devices require a power source and connect directly to a network.
- Microsoft Windows users can verify if the firewall is turned on by accessing the Control Panel > Windows Firewall. Mac users can verify if the firewall is turned on by accessing System Preferences > Sharing > Firewall.
Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union recommends that you check your computer system to make sure that you not only have a firewall installed, but that it is turned on.
Strengthen security by putting patches in place
- Software updates are necessary when companies identify application errors or weaknesses in their software or system that require stronger security protections.
- Updates come in the form of software “patches” that replace defective sections of software code with corrected code. All software manufacturers issue patches either on a regular schedule or as defects are discovered.
- Malware such as viruses, worms and trojans can infiltrate a computer through a software application that has not been patched.
- Automatic updates are included in most operating systems and software programs. These features periodically and automatically update the user’s computer. Microsoft Windows calls this feature “Auto Update.” Mac calls this feature “Software Update.”
- Other software programs may display pop-up notices within a program notifying you to install the latest software patches.
At Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union, we strongly suggest you check your computer operating system’s automatic update settings. Microsoft Windows users can check the “Auto Update” settings by accessing the Control Panel > Automatic Updates. Mac users can check the “Software Update” settings by accessing System Preferences > Software Update.