We’ve often heard the English poet Alexander Pope’s quote, “To err is human…” Much to the consternation of business owners everywhere, one way humans err is by opening links attached to phishing emails. In defense of humans everywhere, these phishing emails have gotten quite clever by appearing to come from legitimate sources (email providers, banking services) and by instilling a sense of urgency and fear in the recipient.
In 2016 a ransomware called Locky emerged and has been used in a wide range of cyber attacks. In August 2017 a new and dangerous variant of this Locky ransomware appeared and effectively relies on social engineering which is the ‘art of manipulating people so they give up confidential information’. This writer recently received an email from “American Express Internet Services”, with a startling subject line that read, “Alert: Please view your recent activity and we'll help you take corrective action “. In the body of the email it prompted me to open the attached pdf file to read my ‘secure message’ about the fraudulent activity. Many people have AMEX accounts and everyone is concerned about hacked financial accounts and identity theft so a recipient may panic and open this pdf. By doing so you will have opened the ransomware on your computer which will then encrypt your files and demand a ransom for a key to get your files back (this ‘key’ may or may not work.)
Do not let Locky manipulate you or your employees and put your business and customers at risk. Educate your staff to understand that reputable sources will NEVER use email to request pertinent information or address fraudulent activity. Advise them to delete these emails and monitor their email/banking/service accounts directly.
Education is the first step but ransomware can still sneak through the cracks and the best way to keep your business, your employees and your customers safe is to implement a ‘better safe than sorry approach’ by having a reliable backup and disaster recovery solution (DRP).
Four Winds Network Services engineers and staff can partner with your company to help educate your staff about ransomware, provide the strongest anti-virus and anti-malware products available, and, because ‘to err IS human’, also customize back-up and disaster recovery plans to best protect your business.
Call Four Winds at 941-315-2380 for information.