Computer viruses, laptop with virus warning on screenComputer viruses are rampant all over the world.  The sheer speed at which they are developed, altered and distributed result in them spreading through and infecting thousands of networks within minutes.  Even the most sophisticated security filters and anti-virus software can have difficulty keeping up with them.

Recently we were the unfortunate victims – along with hundreds of other New Zealand and Australian companies – of a computer virus. We must all be constantly vigilant in protecting our IT network from attack, and there are several measures you can take to stay safe from computer viruses both at home and at work:

  • The majority of viruses come in the form of .zip files, which literally wreak havoc when opened as attachments.  Always be wary of opening any zip files unless you can 100% verify the source.
  • Be very wary of any emails containing bad English / grammar / punctuation.
  • Likewise, an email without a signature can be a red flag indicating the need for suspicion.
  • Ensure you have up-to-date anti-virus software in place.
  • Whenever you receive an email with an attachment from an unknown source, be extremely cautious. Notify your IT expert if you are at work so they can inspect and deal with it, or if you are at home it is safest to delete the email immediately without opening (and delete it from your ‘Deleted Items’ folder too).
  • If you receive an unexpected email with an attachment from a known source, contact the person who sent it to ensure it is legitimate before opening.  If in doubt, delete it.
  • A particularly rampant virus in New Zealand of late concerns parcel/mail tracking.  This is a vicious virus which, if activated, encrypts your files and holds them to ransom.  Again, delete anything of this nature without opening attachments to be completely safe.