With the recent Wannacry Ransomware attack on the NHS and other local business with the , I thought i would post this article we sent to our clients last year. This is our personal view on how to best protect yourself against such attacks.
Viruses, Protection & Backups
Hi All, please spare the time to read what I have to say, if you value your files on your computers. If you don’t value your files, then you can stop reading and delete this email.
This is not just for PC users, but for MAC users too.
I’m coming across more and more people who have had their computers infected with Viruses & Malicious Software.
I have seen 2 accounts of Ransomware within 2 months, Viruses & Malware are becoming more and more clever to bypass your antivirus measures.
Ransomware is one of the worst kind, The clients files on their machines have been encrypted and held at ransom for thousands of dollars.
The latest strain of these Ransomware viruses are impossible to crack, and will leave all your word, excel, photos… basically all your important files useless.
They will also infect USB drives, network drives even files on mobile phones. Anything connected to the computer.
How to protect yourself?
Antivirus / Malware Protection
Antivirus software helps protect you, but you cannot rely on this for total protection.
Also if you open a malicious word/excel document which contains a macro virus, this can infect your PC and can bypass your antivirus software.
You should also run Malware scans regularly on your computers, either Malwarebytes or Microsoft defender will do, as malware is different to viruses and wont always be detected from your antivirus software.
Also if you can afford £30 a year, then pay for some Antivirus software, and don’t rely of the free ones.
Please take care when opening emails, don’t just open an attachment or click a link, even if its from someone you know. If there computer has been infected, then the virus can read the address book, and send you an email with a malicious file attached. Sometimes the virus could even use your email to send out malicious emails, making the email look like it comes from you, but being sent from that persons computer.
Word, Excel. Viruses can even be embedded into photo files too.
Never Ever open a .bat, .exe or even .xml, .html, .htm.
I would even refuse to open a .doc or a .xls (.docx or xlsx are ok).
A .doc or .xls can contain macro viruses, but .docx or .xlsx cannot contain a macro virus.
If a customer or supplier sends me a .doc file, I will refuse and ask them to convert this into a PDF. Even PDF’s can contain viruses, but they are harder to write and embed.
Be careful when searching on the internet, or typing in a web address into the address bar. One typo mistake, can lead you to a malicious website. Clicking on the wrong search result, can also take you to a malicious website.
If a website offers your music, games or software for free, then be careful. They are free for a reason, and will normally contain popups and back-links to other malicious websites. The free music/games/software you download, can also contain bloatware, or malware and even viruses.
Stay away from torrent sites, and peer to peer file sharing sites.
Also when downloading legitimate software, or upgrading software pay attention to what is on the screen. A lot of the time, you can install bloatware software without you know.. for instance, when you download and install Adobe acrobat reader, during the installation and on one of the Next, Next, Next screens it will contain a tickbox, which is auto ticked to install additional software.
Never click on links within emails. If you receive an email from; for example Amazon or ITunes about an order, never click on the links in the email, if the email is a hoax/fake email then it will take you to a malicious site which looks identical to Amazon or Itunes. They will wait for you to try and long in, and steal your details. This goes for all companies you deal with on the internet. Pay attention and don’t just click those links. You can normally hover the mouse pointer over the link, which will then display the web address, this will give you an idea if the web link is good or not. But to be safe, don’t click them.
If in doubt forward the email to me, to check it.
Fake emails come from banks, retail companies, courier companies, email providers, utility providers, HMRC, etc etc. Any way a hacker thinks he is able to try and steal your details, he will try.
Again if in doubt ask me, or forward them to me to double check.
Make sure you have at least 1 Backup. I recommend Online as your first backup solution if you have a decent internet connection. Online backups are simple, and once installed, you don’t need todo anything (except make sure its kept upto date, and its doing its job)
If you value your files, then use 2 types of backup. 1 online backup & 1 USB/Tape backup which runs daily/every other day.
Having a 3rd backup is just piece of mind. Have a 3rd backup which again is a USB drive, but this will be removable and disconnected from the computer after the backup has run. You can run this Weekly.
Online backups are really cheap, so are USB backup drives.
Once you have all the above setup/installed and running, then you need to check it regularly.
Keep your antivirus program and definitions up to date.
Run regular Malware checks and keep upto date.
Check your backups have been running, and completing successfully.
Keep windows upto date.
Please get in contact with us, if you would like any more information, or if you have concerns about your own computer security.