Surf Safe

It’s a malware jungle out there on the Internet surf. So how do you keep your company computers from getting wiped out?

Most of the time keeping your corporate assets patched will protect you. Patch not just the operating system but also Adobe Flash, Java and Adobe Reader in that order. Flash and Java are the most maliciously used tools on the Internet these days (go to to update Flash, and to update Java,).

But patching won’t always protect you. Recently I had a client where despite the fact her laptop had just been totally patched three days before, with antivirus, this client got a virus from a web site she googled. No, she was not searching for the Hollywood hunk of the week, but was researching a prospective client and it is a legitimate web site that has been infected with malware. Interestingly while google didn’t warn her, bing does warn about this web site.

For this client, I was able to access the web site safely by using my playbook tablet. Non-windows tablets and iPads aren’t vulnerable (yet) to poisoned web sites as they run stripped down versions of internet browsers and different operating systems than hackers are prepared for. Be sure to back up your tablet frequently though as with any device that gets popular, the hackers will follow.

A number of antivirus products have safe surfing bars or shields, some for free. They slow down surfing and work most of the time at filtering out dodgy or infected web sites.

You can also reduce the risk by filtering search engine results. Check your search engine for protection settings. In Bing, go to Preferences, choose Strict. This will filter out any “adult” text, images, and videos. You may think you’re not searching “adult” stuff but web scammers tag their devilry with innocuous words like “quill” to poison search engine results. For Google, it’s in search settings and also called Strict.

For now it’s a patch a filter solution for safe surfing. New versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer are coming soon and promise new security features.