The effects of virus attacks are always challenging to overcome but the financial and operational losses suffered through ransomware infection is far worse. And it’s not getting any better. The spread of Ransomware infections has increased 48% over last year, and a recent report in Australia showed that 85% of the businesses in the reviewed region had suffered an attack. That’s 85%. After battling the bug more than ten times I can’t even imaging the impact that has had.
And no one is safe now. Mac, PCs, it doesn’t matter. If you do business online you are susceptible to attack. Every email MUST be carefully considered before opening the message. Every attachment MUST be reviewed before clicking on it. And that goes for every single employee, not just the CEO or leadership. If you receive a message and it just does not seem right, such as the subject line is out of character or you were not expecting an attachment, DO NOT open it. You must be suspicious of everything.
Education and backup are still your front-line defenses, but there are some other steps you can take to help prevent infection. If you have an employee who regularly receives attachments, such as an accounts payable position or communications personnel, get them a Chromebook and dedicate that to only opening and screening the incoming email. Using an online email source is also helpful since companies like Microsoft and Google have great virus scanners built in. Using Gmail or Outlook.com – that’s .com, not the regular Outlook you install on your computer, can help keep you protected.
If you want to invest a little in your company’s security you can also use a product like KnowBe4.com which will help educate and test your users through track-able emails intended to trick your users into opening something they shouldn’t. The emails you send out from their setup are not dangerous but do look and act like they are. They also report back on who clicked a link or downloaded an attachment and allow you to take the necessary steps to educate users one on one.
Take every step to educate your users about viruses and especially ransomware. You must keep them informed if you want to stay safe.