Hackers are hard at work mining the Internet for data — maybe yours. Amost any data will do, but collecting data about people and their finances is a prime target. It is easy for a small business to think only the big guys are the focus. That’s because they are the ones that are newsworthy when a breach occurs. In reality, small businesses are every bit as much a target as the big ones. Maybe even more because the security measures taken by large corporations are likely to be much more elaborate. Fortunately, while hackers have gotten smarter, so has the Internet Security industry.
Internet security software is actually built into more recent versions of Windows. That’s both good and bad. It’s good that it is there, but the bad part is, Windows is used virtually all over the world, and is the most widely used operating system, period. That makes cracking its security one of the first things any self respecting hacker does. If you ask an IT Professional, they will probably recommend their favorite third party security software, and there are a bunch. Check out this wikipedia list that compares only the most notable Anti-Virus and Internet Security programs. Be prepared to scroll.
By now you are probably asking yourself, “why is an ABS blog talking about Internet Security?” Great question. The answer is, the third party software mentioned above is becoming more aggressive because the hackers are. It seems there are always trade-offs. The harder your Anti-Virus (AV) software looks for signs of hacking, the more likely it will mistake a good program for a bad one. We have become a victim of the more stringent search and destroy tactics used by some of the more aggressive AV programs. Here are two examples.
- When you install an update to our software, some AV programs notice that there is a difference between the new version and the old. Some will ask you if want to continue using the new version, but others don’t. If you are asked, but ignore the question (or worse, say no), then ABS will be disabled. If you are not asked, the more aggressive AV programs simply disable the new update. Apparently they think you can’t decide on your own. However, once disabled it is very hard to re-enable. If it was easy, you wouldn’t be very well protected.
- A common hacker strategy is to repeatedly try to access your data making subtle changes each time. That is known as a Brute Force Attack. Unfortunately, ABS needs to repeatedly check the database to see if there are any Pending Tasks or Inter-office messages to pop-up. You guessed it. Some AV programs think there is a Brute Force Attack being done by ABS, and the next thing you know ABS won’t work any more. It has been disabled. Re-enabling is very hard.
So, ABS quits working because it has been falsely branded as malware by your AV software. It has been disabled, or quarantined and no longer works. You can click on the ABS icon ’til the cows come home and nothing happens. So, if that happens to you, what can you do? Before we answer, take a look at the wikipedia list. If you think we can understand how every one of those programs work, you are kidding yourself. That’s one way of saying, don’t expect us to be able to fix the problem. We might be able to, but don’t bank on it. However, all is not lost.
If your AV software was installed by your IT Professional, call them. They may have run into this before. If not, have them read this blog. It might point them in the right direction. If the IT Pro is drawing a blank, or if you installed the AV software yourself, call the AV software’s tech support. Just remember, if you decide to dump them and switch to another vendor, uninstalling their software will probably not re-enable ABS. If you get to this point, please — please — remember that we don’t want you to be without ABS. We will do whatever we can to help, but there is no way for us to support all the many dozens of AV programs that are available. Each of those programs has its own protection methods, and they are probably trade secrets. They are not our products. We can’t support them, and we may not be able to repair the damage they do.