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Thu, October 19, 2017 Twitter LinkedIn

Compliance Training Blog

Security is everyone's responsibility

Understanding Ransomware and Tips to Avoid It

An employee has an infinite number of reasons to log onto a computer but regardless of why he or she logs on, all employees share one thing in common: they're human and they all make mistakes. Hackers count on this fact, and they have developed very sophisticated ways to take advantage of it. Companies must be prepared to practice better prevention utilizing their employees, so they can avoid a costly encounter with a hacker. Learn more about the threat and what can be done to avoid it.


How It Works

A virus can be delivered in a variety of ways, but it's clear that attachments are most often favored by cybercriminals. Typically, infection begins as an email imploring areader to click on a link. Once the victim finishes downloading the program, he or she loses access to important files. Because there is bound to be significant information on them, hackers know they can ransom that information at whatever price they want. In fact, this has become such a profitable industry that there are “companies” in places such as Eastern Europe that operate very much the way a legitimate corporation does. Typically, hackers will ask for Bitcoin or some other digital currency as payment because it's harder to track, and also because it's easier to send across countries. The police unfortunately will have very few ways to help.

No One Is Immune

This ransomware has the ability to affect everyone,  no matter how tech-savvy. Hackers continuously come up with new methods to make their way past Spam filters and people's own defensive mechanisms. It can be as simple as disguising an email seeming to come from a friend or coworker, or as complicated as embedding a link in a phony website that's been painstakingly created to look like a legitimate company's page. Attacks may be orchestrated by the use of several malware programs that are designed to work together to infect computers across a variety of platforms. When the public catches on to one trick, the hacker will simply move on to the next idea.

Perform Updates

To avoid a dangerous interaction with a hacker, it's necessary first to ensure software updates are completed as soon as they come out. When hackers have a chance to become familiar with a program, they can devise ways to infect it. Some viruses actually can lay dormant in a system, waiting for the time when a computer is most vulnerable to attack. Software updates change the code so it makes it harder for hackers to make their greedy plans a reality. Companies like Apple in particular build a lot of anti-malware programs directly into their devices, meaning they block the link before an employee even has a chance to click on it. For people who are prone to mindless clicking, this can be extremely helpful.

Proceed With Caution

Hackers know that human brains are hardwired at this point to click when interested in what is sent their way; they therefore  ensure that whatever they're sending is enticing enough to catch the target's eyes. Perhaps an employee already has been instructed several times to be careful, and knows in the back of his or her mind that it is necessary. However, in times of great stress defenses might be down and people could be more likely to make errors. Organic solutions like placing Post-it™ reminders around a computer will be only so helpful. A company will need something more sophisticated. To combat hackers everywhere, Global Learning Systems has end-to-end learning programs that can make employees at any business be more aware when browsing online and checking email. Contact us today for more information and details on how we can help.

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