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Cybercrime: It Requires All of Us to Stay Safe

June 27, 2017

RansomwareWe’ve all read about large-scale phishing scams and ransomware attacks on organizations ranging from Sony Pictures and Target stores to the U.S. Government. But you probably haven’t read about the thousands of smaller companies that have suffered similar attacks. The average ransomware payment is only $300—but there’s no telling what you might be asked to pay if hackers were to gain control of your company’s data.

What would you do if someone asked for $30,000 to release your accounts receivable data?

At ITS, we specialize in fortifying IT systems against attacks. And we urge you to take these three simple technical measures throughout your company immediately:

  1. Update your operating system and all applications ASAP.
  2. Update your anti-virus software ASAP.
  3. Back up your data ASAP.

(Yes, ”ASAP” and “immediately” are redundant. But it is urgent!)

However, no matter how good your firewalls and other technical defenses, human error remains the biggest threat to your security. Most important of all is to train every single employee, whether on their very first day or in their 25th year at your company, to “think before you click!”

This means:

  • Be careful opening emails from anyone you don’t know—especially if there’s an offer that seems too good to be true.
  • Be suspicious of emails purportedly from a known source, but not characteristic of that source. For example, if your CEO, out of the blue, asks you, the CFO, to send him the social security number of all employees, be suspicious. First reply with an email asking why; if you don’t get a good answer, call to follow up!
  • Do not open any attachments you are not expecting. When in doubt, contact the sender to ask for more information about it, and if you don’t get an answer that makes sense, delete it.

Remember, your data are only as safe as your weakest link. Consistent, frequent training and testing are essential to making all the links stronger. Give us a call for some thoughts on how to get started.

Thanks to Carbonite for the informative links above.

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