Every day, we access and input information via our PCs. However, PCs are often overlooked when it comes to data security. While you see your PC as an indispensable work tool, hackers may see it as an attractive opening for data to be stolen, held for ransom or made inaccessible.

At the same time, attacks on PCs have evolved to a point where traditional antivirus software alone is no longer capable of providing adequate protection.

Here, we look at the problem and the best ways to protect your PC.

What does the problem look like?

You may think you know what a hacking attempt will look like, but hacking is becoming increasingly sophisticated.

One example of a new way for hackers to collect your personal data is called “formjacking”. Websites are infected, so that when you fill in a form on that website both the website owners and the hackers are sent the private information you submitted. This could include credit card information. British Airways and Ticketmaster, and 420,000 of their customers, were victims of formjacking last year.

This style of hacking is difficult, if not impossible, to spot. What is needed in these cases is for your security tools on your PC to block the infected websites.

Will it happen to me?

You have to operate on the basis that it will happen to you.

The success of your firm depends on trust. People have to trust that their privacy is protected, and be confident that personal information will be handled in line with their expectations.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) reinforces this sentiment, recognising that “strong data management is integral to the operation of businesses and that digital platforms and technologies that utilise user data to provide personalised products or services have proliferated.”

OAIC’s surveys have also found that if an organisation does not demonstrate a commitment to privacy, people will look for alternative suppliers, products, and services.

Prepare for the worst

It’s important to recognise that consumer and community trust is not necessarily extinguished immediately after a data breach occurs. After all, history has shown us that even organisations with great information security can fall victim to a data breach due to the rapid evolution of data security threats and the difficulty of removing the risk of human error in large and complex organisations.

When a data breach occurs, a quick and effective response can have a positive impact on people’s perceptions of an organisation’s trustworthiness. That’s why being prepared for a data breach is important for all organisations that handle personal information.’

In developing your firm’s plan, it’s important to consider how we access the data, whether stored on local computer servers, within private server hosting services or, in the case of sole practitioners, simply stored on a PC.

But take preventative action

While data breaches can happen to even the biggest and best companies, there are steps you can – and should – take to reduce the risk of the worst happening.

Habitat3 has created PCsecure247, a monthly subscription-based service designed to keep your data safe through maintaining the best possible PC security.

This service provides eight key layers of security:

1. Firewall
When configured correctly, PC firewalls block access to your computer from external attempts – including those from hackers, bots and malware. PCsecure247 monitors and manages your firewall to ensure it’s stopping all unwanted access.

2. Anti-Virus
Full real-time anti-virus protection is maintained within the PC to protect against viruses contained within any files including email attachments or website downloads.

3. Ransomware/Cryptolocker
Anti-Ransomware protection is provided on the PC by preventing unauthorised encryption or modification of your files. This means it stops cryptolock type attacks from “locking up” or encrypting your files. It also blocks processes that run on your PC commonly associated with Ransomware as an added layer of protection.

4. Microsoft Windows Security Patch Updates
As required, Microsoft releases updates that fix security gaps within their PC operating system. PCsecure247 monitors these updates and makes sure your PC is always up to date.

5. Malicious Website protection
Protection is provided against websites that are known to contain malicious scripts and malware (including formjacking). PCsecure247 blocks these websites and provides you with a warning when you attempt to visit the site.

6. Mobile Device Security
PCsecure247 protects your smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices from mobile-specific viruses to ensure complete security across all platforms.

7. Two Factor Authentication (2FA)
As an added layer of password protection when logging into your PC, 2FA initiates a prompt within an app on your mobile phone that needs to be confirmed before you gain access to your PC.

8. Office 365 Protection
For those using Office365, PCsecure247 offers additional protection including:
detection of malware embedded in Office365 or PDF documents
reduction in threat detection times to speed up email delivery
protection of OneDrive files across all connected devices.

PCsecure247’s point of difference

PCsecure247 is a combination of a suite of security tools and a proactive team of professionals. Once the security tools are installed on your PC they alert a team of technicians if any aspect of your PC security is not fully operational. The team then resolves the issue for you remotely, ensuring maximum PC protection – 24/7.

Just like hiring a team of security guards will offer better protection than adding a simple padlock, PCsecure247 gives you the peace of mind that a specialist team is proactively protecting your PCs and mobile devices, all day, every day – all for the cost of a couple of cups of coffee a month.

Find out more about protecting your PC

Read about pricing and further information or send your questions to PCsecure247 via email: pcsecure247@innovation360.net.au

PCsecure247 is underpinned by technology from recognised industry leaders including TREND, Duo and Itarian.