Use Daylight Saving Time switch to check computer security

March 09, 2007 Sophos Press Release

IT security and control leader, Sophos, today issued a reminder to personal computer users to take the opportunity this weekend when installing the daylight saving time update to check that their anti-virus software and operating system updates offered by manufacturers have been installed on home computers and laptops.

"Some users have a tendency to believe that internet security is the responsibility of the internet service provider or email service provider. Most users receive an introductory or trial version of anti-virus software when they purchase a new PC or laptop," said Ron O'Brien, senior security analyst for Boston-based Sophos. "In fact, unless you specifically purchase a full version of the software, you may have no protection if the trial version of the software has expired," O'Brien adds.

Another area where users should exercise more diligence is in running updates to anti-virus software. Sophos provides users with the option of updating their software automatically. Unless you have selected the automatic update option, you may receive a reminder to update your anti-virus software. These updates provide protection against dozens of new threats that appear each day. Users should also be aware that some types of malware target vulnerabilities in operating system software. Updates are available to "patch" these vulnerabilities but a number of users are inclined to click "remind me later" when presented with the option to run an operating system update. This weekend would be the ideal time to check whether all of the available operating system updates have been installed on your computer.

"Most virus attacks reported by consumers could have been prevented by updating anti-virus software when asked to do so," added O'Brien.

Top 5 tips for computer users:

  • Use anti-virus software and ensure that it is kept up-to-date
  • Stay up-to-date with software patches
  • Stay informed about the latest virus threats
  • Use a personal firewall to stop zero day threats and prevent intrusion from hackers
  • Back up data regularly

Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can control network access and defend against the threats of spam, hackers, spyware and viruses.