Weekly Help Desk Notes for June 10, 2020
Don't Get Malware!
We’ve learned that there’s been a surge in malware activity recently – scammers have an all new “in” by preying on people with fears and insecurities about the COVID19 crisis. So what is malware, anyway? It’s the all-encompassing group of software that wants to cause you harm. This includes viruses, worms, ransomware, spyware, adware, and so forth.
An enlightening article by the Colorado Springs Business Journal points out several new ways that cyber criminals are operating. The most common method is still phising (where the user is tricked into giving login credentials) so stay super vigilant.
If there’s a link in your email to an application or website that you trust, be sure to hover over it with your mouse to see if it’s really going to that application. If you’re not 100% certain that you’ll be directed to the right place, simply go to the website as you normally would and don’t use the link at all.
The above referenced article also suggests that you do a scan on your machines to make sure there’s nothing already there. Your IT people probably have some great suggestions, and they will also have some general recommendations to tighten your security. We recommend and use Webroot for anti-virus software.
It may be time to revisit your password policy. Do you have the same password (or a variation) for everything? Try installing a password vault such as Lastpass or 1Password. These vaults not only store your passwords for you securely across all devices, but they suggest difficult passwords for each of your accounts. It’s a somewhat time-consuming process to update your passwords, but after using a vault for a number of months nearly everything will be updated. CNET has a great article with recommendations.
Leading malware experts Malware Bytes have an article on 10 ways to prevent malware. They really are easy! Keep your systems up-to-date (i.e. install those Windows updates!), don’t be fooled into talking to fake tech-support, and be sure to practice safe internet habits. This article is very informative and it’s a good idea to brush up on internet hygiene. (pun totally intended.)
We can’t say this enough – backup-backup-backup! Just last week one of our own employees’ computer crashed and she lost hours upon hours of productivity because she didn’t have everything backed up. This applies to everything – not just your Alert data! (We won’t pitch Alert EasyVault here, but please let us know if you want more information on our backup and recovery system!) There are well-regarded systems such as Carbonite that you can use, and/or you can take advantage of document drives (such as Dropbox or OneDrive) for your other valuable files. Your IT professionals will have some good recommendations for you.
We know that malware can be not only a pain, but an invasion of your privacy and an interruption to your business. Real financial losses can take place at the hands of cyber criminals. Please take every precaution to protect yourselves! We know that we harp on this subject frequently, but please understand that we want to inform and protect you as much as possible. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!