Every day it seems like there’s another new threat to be wary of. A company’s email lands in your inbox informing you that their servers have been breached and your data, in one form or another, has been accessed. Some offer reassurance that the stolen data was encrypted or incomplete, that no financial data was in danger, or if the breach was extensive, they might promise you a free period of credit monitoring to thwart any legal action, should some trouble arise.
If this sounds familiar, it’s only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Leaks happen to large companies, and it does signify that the need for greater security exists, but people can do a lot at all levels to prevent those who mean harm.
Take the recent EquiFax data breach, which was confirmed to be caused because an employee neglected to update security software and patch a known security hole. Two months later, still without an update, over 145 million customers’ data was stolen.
If you use a reliable antivirus and anti-malware program, then keeping it updated keeps you ahead of the curve. The key is to use reliable software. Safety and vigilance need to start with some basic prevention. If you use your devices in public, invest in privacy screens. Even make sure there’s no one looking over your shoulder. In many cases, passwords or codes are intercepted. Yet, beyond these basics, it’s important to keep updated reliable protection. Despite what some believe, malware can make its way onto tablets, and mobile phones in addition to both PC and Mac computers. Some basic prevention and maintaining vigilance can help prevent trouble.
Yet if you need advice on reliable software or want to set up a regular maintenance schedule, companies like ours, PCMac Express, should be part of your team. We have cleaned malware from many customers’ systems, as well as helped them once their computers were compromised. We’ve helped defeat ransomware and related scams, and left customers’ computers secured and ready for use again.
It seems like every other week these days, the news carries mentions of ransomware or malware unleashed to hold unsuspecting people and businesses’ information for, as the name indicates, ransom. It is a lucrative and growing form of theft, with a surge of 167 times more ransomware in 2016 than in 2015. Yet, this week, what was first thought to be the latest ransomware attack was something intended to be much worse.
The havoc caused this week by the infection known as Petya/ExPetr acted like ransomware at first look –it would pop up and lock data behind a fake screen demanding money for a code to unlock the data and break the encryption. However, there were holes in the way it operated, and experts quickly realized after analysis that the codes customers had paid for were useless. This malware attack wasn’t to ransom data –it was to destroy it. The alleged unlock codes were just random characters that failed to decrypt anything. It wasn’t spread to make anyone money. Experts are calling it a “wiper”. Data on infected systems is lost forever.
The list of infected people and businesses grew rapidly, but security firms also jumped right into action. There are ways to catch a potential infection and stop it.
We’ve long been advocates of staying on top of security and protecting your data. Maintenance is one of the many services we provide, and we understand that losing access to everything on your computer or even an entire office network, could be a devastating and costly process to address. That is the case even when the data that has been encrypted or infected can be cleaned up and restored. In the case of this latest round, that data is simply lost, the extent of which is unknown just yet.
Imagine if your data was suddenly lost forever. We’re often able to recover data due to drive failure, erasure, or common malware infection, but this is worse.
And it’s preventable! Be proactive and save yourself the trouble by contacting us. We’ll set up options to meet your needs, from data backups, top of the line anti-malware and virus protection, to regular maintenance.