Ransomware Attacks via Google Docs
This past week we have seen yet another deviously creative way the cyber criminals are pushing the latest Ransomware virus out to the public via Google Docs. This new method incorporates part of a daily process for many employees, students or small businesses familiar with Google Docs and is more sophisticated, its delivery anticipating a slightly distracted user might click on the “View Secure Document” link. This phishing email method is disguised as a typical email that a familiar contact would be sending to you, which is the reason why this method of transmitting the Ransomware virus is such a success. Once someone clicks on this link, the damage has begun.So what can people do to protect themselves? That’s a loaded question for the tech team over here at Orange County Computer! I will provide you with a few of the most critical elements of protection that cover the largest segment of the population first…..
Tips to stay free of Ransomware Infections:
1. Scrutinize all incoming emails with links or attachments. Ask yourself “Why would John Smith send me a link to a secure document?” If you aren’t expecting one, then most likely it’s bogus.
2. Don’t open emails while you are working on multiple tasks. This is one example of when multitasking can set you back – anywhere from a day to months depending on whether or not you already have a backup solution in place.
3. If your data is important to you, spend the money on a reliable backup solution. This can be anything from an external backup device (minimum 2 hard drives) that backs up your files nightly to a multiple drive Network Attached Storage device (NAS). Other options include subscribing to a reliable off-site backup such as OCC Online Backup. One of these is a necessary technology investment for your own protection. Take note that the low cost online solutions are a nightmare when trying to actually recover data. Remember, you get what you pay for. An off-Site backup solution such as OCC Online Backup would be a great option for users not working in a cloud environment due to it’s simplicity of use and automation for those that don’t like. It’s not a matter of if this can happen to you, its really when this will happen. Your preparedness will pay off in the end. If you currently have a backup solution, verify that the backups are successfully working. Please note that many of the low cost online backup solutions can take days to weeks to retrieve your data over the internet which is entirely another problem.
4. Educate yourself and those you work with. Inform your friends and colleague of what you have read or heard about these Cryptowall/Ransomware threats and be proactive in protecting your data and identity.
Remember that most individuals using email and sharing files are not watching out for viruses or identify theft. I personally receive 1 email a week from someone in my contacts that been hacked and is spamming out a virus to my email address. Keep in mind that here at Orange County Computer, we have extensive firewalls and security that strips most email content that carries harmful phishing ploys and viruses. Our network security is obviously much more secure than the average client that seeks out our services. This fact is a huge concern at Orange County Computer. We receive daily phone calls from miscellaneous customers who are victims of these cyber schemes. Random companies lose all productivity due to 1 employee clicking on something they shouldn’t have in an email then call our Tech Center to help them recover from a Cryptowall infection. I would encourage everyone reading this to empower yourselves to be more proactive in protecting your data as well as the email addresses in your contact list. The age of care-free computing is over. It’s time to get serious and protect yourself and others.