Ransomeware – Next User Concern

As I continue to support clients between Tampa/Orlando, I am finding that more of them are bumping into malware that hijacks their system in ways that keeps them from handling the everyday tasks they enjoy. As we watch the saga of Apple vs. Federal Government, or hear of yet another system breeched (Remember Target? Playstation Network? Lists of High Security Personnel from the government?) the simple small business user, or home user is much more at risk than is realized.

Our lives become more tech dependent, and in becoming so, we also discover more risks. I bumped into a wonderful article outlining 7 Ways Ransomware (which essentially hijacks your data) Could Invade Your Firm. Having recently had a client whose bank called to confirm a large wire transfer requested from their own business emails, I am seeing the risks more and more. Some things I am always a proponent of (even if reducing the convenience and ease we take for granted):

  1. 2-Step Verification Process – for email, for facebook, twitter, banking, etc. If the service offers it, get it going! What this does is deny a login from any device without first setting it up as a safe location/device with verification. When traveling, that may be tricky, because it often wants to send you a code via text message. However, if you have your email on your phone, you should not need to set up again after identifying a device as safe.
  2. Not signing up for all those cute little questionnaires and polls online (What color are you? What’s your emotional IQ? How good of a speller are you?) One of the challenges are all the third party ads that run along with these things, which can indirectly pop-up and trigger an install of something you don’t want.
  3. Avoiding Pirating sites – teenagers (and adults) are notorious for wanting to get music, movies, games, ringtones for free. The sites that offer these opportunities are filled with malware of every kind. Years ago, Metallica dropped a new song on Napster that was bugged with a virus to teach “pirates a lesson.” Essentially, that hasn’t stopped. Even the companies who run ads get dupped by installing ads with malware, not realizing… which impacts everyone!
  4. Keep your antivirus software up to date, and install the newest version each year (don’t just pay for renewal without getting the latest software!) It will never be 100% preventative, but it is better than running nothing!

I recommend you take a look at the article referenced! I am always here to help!

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