The nature of some of our business is that we’re kinda like firefighters for viruses and malware that creeps into our clients’ computers. Many of us have become calloused over the repeated virus warnings, but the stats are still frightening to us when we find out how many Windows computers are infected, often unbeknownst to the owner. Meanwhile, hackers continue to build up their botnets (botnets are networks of computers under the control of a hacker).
Here are steps you can take – any of them add additional barriers, but the last provides 100% protection for you:
Barrier #1: If you have your own domain or company email, consider a managed service (such as our own managed Email Solutions) which maintains active updates to its inspection database and is able to trap messages with ill intent.
Barrier #2: Use OpenDNS in your company and home, anywhere you check email.
Barrier #3: This one is the most difficult one to do, but has 100% results: Never click on a link or attachment, unless you specifically sought it out. Let’s consider some examples of common alerts and how you can safely take action:
Example A: You get an email from UPS/FedEx/DHL about a shipping problem, and you actually use this company.
Typical action: “Oh, I better check that, I shipped this product to my best customer!” Then you click, open the attachment, and BAM! Your computer is infected.
Safe action: Delete the email. Log onto your shipping provider’s online account and check your shipping status.
Example B: You receive an email with a notification to click on a link provide an update. This can pretend to be from a bank, from a supplier, or from an online store.
Typical action: “Oh, I do business with them, I better click on the link.” Once you click on the link, the website may attempt a drive-by installation of malicious software, or entice you to download a program to run. If you continue down the path that these crooks lead you on, you will quickly have your computer infected.
Safe action: Delete the email. Log onto the purported real business site and check the status of your account there.