Users receive quite a number of phishing emails containing ransomware (this occurrence has increased in recent times), both at home and at work. A user can accidentally activate the virus and as a consequence, their colleagues at work might be seriously impacted. This short post will teach you what Ransomware is and how to defend yourself.
Ransomware is a type of computer virus, generally delivered as an email attachment or downloaded from malicious and/or social websites. It could be masked as a document (e.g. a late invoice) or as a useful program. Once it is executed, ransomware encrypts all user documents, both on the computer and on network drives. A ransom is then asked in exchange for decrypting the files and if the user does not have a recent backup the files are lost forever.
To defend against ransomware, IT support should setup a wide array of technical measures and procedures, including regular backups (and you may also want to back up the files on your home computer). Unfortunately, these measures are not enough when done alone. The most effective defense against ransomware is safe user behaviour and awareness.
Don’t be the weakest link! Follow these simple rules to protect yourself and your colleagues from ransomware:
- Be suspicious of any email received from an unknown source
- Carefully examine emails before taking any action.Were you waiting for that email? Had you had a discussion on that topic with that contact? Ask the person the email came from if they actually sent it.
- Carefully examine URLs and file extensions before opening them
- DO NOT click links or download attachments in suspicious emails
- DO NOT download attachments from your personal mailbox (e.g. Gmail) on computers at work
Good luck reading your email and browsing those webpages & remember the do’s and don’ts listed above for the safety of your IT gadgets.