A timely warning from The Teltech Team
Recently, we were contacted by one of our customers, a fairly normal business in suburban Melbourne. They requested IT assistance for an issue they were having across their network.
Nothing out of the ordinary it seemed to us, we were onto it straight away.
We immediately discovered that a very serious virus had corrupted their system. Due to some issues with their backup system, it took a bit of work, but we managed to restore them to fully working a position.
There are 2 lessons to be drawn from this all too common scenario.
1. Virus protection
With eMail usage increasing and bad guys doing more and more to compromise your systems you should ensure that all the eMails that you receive are legitimate before trying to open them. SPAM and Antivirus Systems can weed through mail and ensure that most of the eMails you receive are legitimate, but in spite of this there are still some that may slip through and make it into your inbox.
Two examples of the more common malicious eMails you may have heard of: You may at some stage receive an eMail from a bank asking for you to click a link and update your details. Or it could be a courier company advising that they tried to deliver a package and you were not available. You are asked to click on a zip file to get the details of your package.
The problem is that the people behind these attacks are very sophisticated and the eMails look quite realistic and are therefore fooling a lot of people. If it wasn’t profitable for them they wouldn’t be trying so hard to get your money.
If you receive any unexpected eMails with attachments or links you should do nothing. Check with the sender that it is legitimate before you open any attachments or click on any links in the message.
Possible issues if you are not vigilant are file corruption or encryption and or virus infection with malware, spyware and keyloggers. If your system is compromised, everything you are doing on your computer will then be monitored and your usernames and passwords to banking, eMail or social media sites can be stolen. You will be exposed to Identity theft, blackmail or your bank accounts may be drained.
The threat might not necessarily be in the form of an eMail. You may be called at home or at work and told that they are from “Microsoft” or a representative of Microsoft and they have been alerted by your computer that there is an issue. They will then generally ask you to go to a website and download an application for them to log in and help.
You should not do this as it will do the same as the eMail attachments and install viruses, steal your data or find a way to blackmail you to get money.
This is reality.
2. Back up & restoration of your data
For a lot of these scenarios the only way to retrieve your non-corrupted data is to restore from backups.
You need to ensure that you have a good backup solution and regularly test the restoration process. You also need a good antivirus solution in place to minimise the damage.
The effects of poor protective systems could be years of lost critical company data and hours/days of downtime while your technicians attempt to restore you to a position that you can operate from again.
All it takes is one infected computer to destroy years of data.
- ALWAYS ensure that whoever you are dealing with is legitimate, either on the phone or via eMail. NEVER open attachments or click links if you are not expecting an eMail from the sender.
- Ensure that all your essential company data is being backed up and protected and you have a valid Antivirus System.
If you are unsure, ask.
It is better to ask the question while everything is working than to assume it is OK and find you have nothing when your environment is destroyed by a virus and data is corrupted.