GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – As we continue to transition into another year dealing with COVID-19, some are still working from home.

One topic people seem to be talking about more is computer software and data protection, during Home Office and Security Week, which is the second week of January. One local IT management company says suspicious malware and viruses are the main culprits in hacking and harming your computer.

Sam Stretar, a cybersecurity manager and security analyst at Computer Peripherals Unlimited, says it’s important to have an up-to-date anti-virus and malware protection program, because viruses can show up anywhere on your computer.

“A lot of the things come in through email, spam, phishing which is a big thing nowadays because it can lead to ransomware and locking your computer out,” Stretar said.

Having good judgment and knowledge on ways to protect your computer software can also be beneficial, not just for you, but for the company and business you work for. Stretar also says businesses should take precautions by setting up their network infrastructure for work-at-home employees by using a VPN, also known as a Virtual Private Network.

“The original purpose of a VPN was for satellite offices so that they can actually have a secure connection between home users, satellite offices and the main base,” Stretar said.

If and when you are working from home, there are some red flags you should avoid. One of the most common red flags is a fake website that pops up, saying your computer has been infected, and to call a 1-800 number for Microsoft to take care of everything for you.

“We see that very often, it’s never Microsoft, it is always a scam or a hacker that is trying to trick you into calling them so they can get into your computer, and infect it, put a trojan on it, do something
that is malicious,” Stretar said.