Computer security

Is your business a target for cyber crime? Some business owners feel they are too small to be noticed, but you do have something cybercriminals want — your business and customer information. No computer security system is absolutely foolproof and no business is too small that it could not be targeted. The best way to protect your business is to be aware of the threats, have a plan to deal with them and know what to do if you are attacked.

Computer security threats

In order to protect your computer or network, you need to know about the threats that your business could face. Awareness allows you to prepare for these threats and have an action plan in place.


The term malware is short for "malicious software". Malware is any software that can change or degrade the performance of your computer, or that allows third parties to steal information from your computer. Some of the better known types of malware are listed below.


Identity theft is one of the more lucrative activities of cyber crime. The method used to steal your information is called phishing. The most successful method of phishing is getting you to give up your personal or business information.

Here are some examples of potential phishing messages:

None of these signs are absolute. Cybercriminals change their methods often. A type of phishing called "spear phishing" can be directed at specific organizations. It will not have a generic greeting.


A botnet is a network of computers set up and used by cybercriminals. They do not own the computers in their network; you do. The cybercriminals can use a botnet to send out spam emails, process stolen data, or store illegal files. A botnet can also be used in a denial-of-service attack against your business or organization.

Some signs that your computer might be part of a botnet are:

How threats can reach your computer

The modern computer criminal is not a hacker. Computer expertise is not needed to access your computer. The software needed to spread malware can be bought "off the shelf".

The most common ways for malicious software or malware to get into your computer are:

New ways of infecting computers are being invented all the time. As one method stops working, others are developed. You need to be aware of how you can protect your business information.


There are many ways to protect your computer and your network. None are completely foolproof, but using them will help to protect your computer and your business information.


A password allows your computer to verify that it is really you that is logging in. Don't use family names, pets' names or ones that can be easily guessed. Below is information on what may help make your password more secure.


Being smart about how you use your email can help you stop access to your computer. Here are some pointers to think about when you access your email.


No matter how your business uses the Web, it only takes one visit to a malicious website to compromise your business information. There are ways to reduce the risks.

Are strange things happening when you use your computer?

If your computer seems slower than normal and you see strange screens and warnings when you boot up, these could be signs that your computer is infected by malware. Don't feel that your computer's behaviour is something that you have to put up with, but it is something that needs to be investigated. Do not ignore changes to your computer's behaviour! Even something as simple as running a full anti-virus scan, when you see something strange, can potentially save you from catastrophe.

Computer security reminders

What to do if you are attacked

If you think you are a victim of cyber crime, contact your customers and partners, and the police.


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