Like most people who have a choice I use a Mac. I always have. In fact, since 1990 I have had 6 Macs and 1 PC. My Mac Lombard G3 still works but, in 2008 my 2 year old Dell Inspiron was infected with a virus via the internet. The virus would create massive popup ads telling me where I could go to buy the software to eliminate the virus. It made me angry. Very angry. So angry, in fact, that I have not, nor will I ever, own another PC.

Mac ownership has allowed me peace of mind with regard to viruses. I mock those friends of mine who complain that their PC has been disabled due to some nasty infestation and I smugly sit back and snicker at their pain. I know that’s not nice but you’ll see how Karma has come to bite me in the ass anyway.

Becoming over-confident in anything is just about always a bad thing. I have bragged about my golf drives only to shank 10 in a row after. I have bored groups by regaling them with skiing exploits then been unable to ski out the day due to sore muscles. I really should learn to keep my mouth shut.

Computer viruses are no different. Being a Mac user has caused me to feel over-confident and like many things, out of sight, out of mind has been my mandate regarding them.

Until now.

Last week I had a client call me to tell me that her computer had been infected by a virus and that, according to her “computer guy” the virus came from Facebook. Facebook! My trusted social media partner! I was devastated. My client trusted me to guide her business’ social media campaign and one of my suggestions lead to the loss of a ton of data. Ack!

To that end I have some suggestions to avoid this happening to anyone in the future but first, a crash course on how they get ya.

Most of the infestations from programs like Facebook are worms. Worms use computer network and security holes to replicate themselves. They search online until they find an unsecured network then jump in there to create havoc. Once in, the worm can open the door for all kinds of nasty visitors to your computer.

From here on out I will be recommending the following to my clients to avoid getting attacked. I’ll be writing it right into my proposals so that they have a clear understanding that doing business online can open their systems up to viruses if they’re not careful.

1. In a perfect world the client would use a Mac to run just their social media campaign. All blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In etc would be on one machine and all of their company records would be on another system that is not networked in any way to that Mac.

2. If #1 is not possible the client should, at the very least, be running Facebook in the https secure setting rather than http.

3. Running an operating system like UNIX pretty well eliminates the virus issue.

4. PC’s have a myriad of software options for security issues. Norton Utilities have been around for ages and seem to have a good track record of keeping things tidy.

Being aware of possible threats to your client’s and making them understand that security should play a part in their overall online strategy is a great way to provide value to the companies you do business with.

It’ll also save you from having egg on your face if something goes wrong 🙂

Written by jax