When you download software applications, whether free or paid, there are important precautions you and your staff should take. Following these guidelines will help your business improve cyber-security and reduce the risk of data breach.
DO advise your employees to follow these tips, and to avoid downloading games on workplace computers if possible. Even on reputable sites, downloads can be “poisoned,” and games are especially targeted because they’re so popular.
DON’T assume that all employees will remember and adhere to these tips. Have a dependable, layered, backup routine in place so you can always recover from malware of any kind.
DO shop at a trusted site that serves your device, such as Microsoft, Google Play, iTunes, or Samsung Apps. If it costs a few bucks, pay. It’s worth it.
DON’T download games and other software from just any site. Before the advent of ransomware and spear-phishing, the worst security disasters we saw were happening after our customers downloaded free games. And those sites are still around.
DO find out the right download link from a trusted source, such as your IT consultant or a well-known and respected technology web site or magazine.
DON’T start with a web search on the product and choose a download site that way, unless you already know and can recognize the genuine web address of the company. Many imposter sites show up in search results, and if you just click on the first link that looks good without verifying its authenticity, you’re practically guaranteed trouble.
DO read reviews of free software before downloading, and ask an IT professional to recommend trusted websites for downloads.
DON’T assume that all “free” software is really free. Some will harvest your data and usage patterns or show you advertisements; others will load malware that steals your personal information or holds your files for ransom. There are excellent free softwares available, but you should go directly to the company’s authentic site and download from there.
DO pay attention to the number of times an application has been downloaded from your reputable site. If an application has been downloaded by hundreds of thousands of people, there’s a better chance it’s not causing major problems. Just a few hundred downloads is a caution.
DON’T just go by the reviews or ratings. A good percentage of reviews are not by real customers, and are meant to deceive in some way.
DO a bit of research, and be willing to pay something for software that won’t wreck your digital life, steal your identity, or jeopardize your business.
DON’T place a greater value on free downloads than on safe downloads. In some cases you’ll need to buy the software from a local office supply store, a well-known online seller such as newegg.com, connection.com, or your favorite trusted online retailer.
Feel free to contact us at Codestar for help with choosing software, setting up automated backups, or recovering from a poisoned download. We have a special interest in Free and Open Source software which includes high-quality software choices to accomplish almost anything. And we offer a free initial consultation for businesses!