How to Stop Human and Computer Viruses In Their Tracks

Viruses of any type can spread frighteningly quickly. As we are seeing today with COVID-19, the impact that can have is both widespread and frightening. It’s especially difficult to stop the spread of viruses if you don’t already have the right structures and protocols in place.

While computer viruses don’t have life-changing effects, they can certainly have business-altering ones. Not only do they spread in similar ways to human viruses, but they also can be stopped by implementing similar measures to those we are using to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Test To Gain Visibility

Testing those people who evidence symptoms of a virus like COVID-19 gives you insight into the breadth, location, and volume of an outbreak. Similarly, gaining visibility into what is happening in your network environment enables you to manage your assets in general and to understand the what, where, and extent of issues when they occur.

Getting a clear view into what is happening on your network also empowers you to develop a fast and informed response. For instance, with NotPetya (targeted ransomware), those businesses that mapped all their SMB connections before they were compromised had a better chance of responding intelligently once they were under attack.

Quarantine / Segment

The more you can isolate infected people or applications, the faster you will be able to to limit the spread of any virus, including COVID-19. In cybersecurity, the equivalent of quarantine is segmentation.

Without a tool like Guardicore Centra, segmentation can be quite complex. Moreover, it’s difficult to implement once your systems are already infected. That’s where people who have already implemented Centra have the advantage: the better prepared a business is ahead of time, the faster a compromise can be halted.

Protect Vulnerable and Critical Resources

There is no doubt that some resources/people are more vulnerable to viruses’ effects than others. Those who have compromised immunity and the elderly in particular need to be careful.

In the cybersecurity world, the parallel is legacy systems, which can hold unknown vulnerabilities. They therefore need to be carefully protected (for instance, by ringfencing them), and, if possible, removed from any virus exposure.

Moreover, it makes sense to secure your critical resources with better protections as well. In the case of humans, this may include those running a company, medical personnel, or government officials. In the cybersecurity world there are also critical resources protecting your most sensitive data. With the right protocols in place, you can ensure their survival even under the most aggressive attack.

Using Guardicore Centra, you can quickly enforce policies when you need them, for swift protection of vulnerable and critical resources.

Implement Controls

Biological and computer viruses both often use known propagation methods. For example, viruses that attack humans often propagate through person-to-person contact. Therefore, sanitizers, hand washing, and no handshake policies are effective at slowing the spread.

Similarly, for NotPetya attacks, for instance, SMBs were the propagation paths and restricting SMB access to a bare minimum helped a lot. That’s why it’s key to be able to speedily apply the right type of policy at the right time, anywhere it’s needed. This will provide strong protections against current vulnerabilities as well as future attacks.

Use Common Sense

There really is nothing shocking about any of this advice. Most of it is common sense. Yet not every business (or person) follows these steps, and that’s when we all pay a price.

That said, if you apply these basic steps even when a virus isn’t active, you will be prepared to handle issues when they arise. Even during critical events, you will be prepared to swiftly deploy policies anywhere and keep your business – and communities – safe and running smoothly.

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