Protect Your Practice from Malware

We hear it in the news almost daily: another major company’s computer system has been hacked and secure data compromised. At the Institute of Podiatric Excellence and Development (IPED), we know that malware poses a huge risk for our members. Not only is there the inconvenience of not being able to function smoothly and potentially losing important information, but your patients’ confidence can be compromised if personal and financial data is stolen. Below is a brief rundown of the basics you need to know to protect your practice.
Know the Enemy
There are several forms of malware, each designed to attack and disrupt your computer is a specific way.
Viruses—Corrupt and delete files, damaging the functioning of your system.
Trojans—Like the famous horse, these look legit but are actually software that steals or destroy data.
Adware—Uses pop-up ads to disrupt your computer’s performance. Ransomware—Locks you out of your files and then demands money to restore access.
Spyware—Steals private information to use for fraudulent purposes. Recognize the Signs Chances are, if you’ve been affected by one of the above malware, your staff will let you know promptly. That’s because the computers we rely on so heavily will suddenly stop doing their job the way they are supposed to. Signs that you’ve been infected include:
• Your computers appear to be running much slower than normal. Start up after powering on takes longer than usual.
• Pop-up windows appear for no reason and impede your ability to use your programs.
• Browsers quit unexpectedly and without explanation.
• Links take you to unexpected places.
• Emails you haven’t sent appearing in your “Sent” folder.
Fortify your Firewall
Protecting your computer system and the data in it is an ongoing task. Be sure that you have top-quality security software installed and follow instructions for running updates to ensure you have the latest antivirus features and have installed all current security patches. Use multiple layers of security, including firewall settings in addition to your antivirus software.
Educate your staff on how to avoid malware entering your system. Employees should be instructed to only download software and apps from trusted sources. Don’t be fooled by “free” offers. Be smart about opening emails—even if they appear to be from people you know. Delete any that have a strange message line or appear suspicious in any way.
At IPED, help with practical matters that help your practice are just one of many benefits of membership. To learn more, contact us by calling: 978-296-7634.

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