The Internet is a dangerous place. It is used by modern criminals to launch cyber-attacks on unprotected businesses.  From ransomware to phishing to fraudulent transactions, hackers are looking to access your files and steal confidential data. 

This means that business owners must be cautious anytime their computers are online.  Malware, scam phone calls, and stolen passwords are just a few of the dangers that lurk beneath the surface of the web. At D-Best Technologies, we take data security seriously, and we want to share a few tips to keep businesses protected. 

Passwords are a primary target for hackers. For individuals, passwords hold the keys to personal finances and other information.  For business owners, passwords come in many shapes and sizes, often requiring capital letters, numbers, symbols, and on many websites, a mandatory change every few months.  It can be stressful trying to keep track of passwords and ensure they don’t fall into the wrong hands. 

Oftentimes, people try to simplify things by using the same password across many services. This is an extremely dangerous practice.  Every day, websites get hacked, and the possibility of your password getting spread across the internet increases. Therefore, it is imperative to keep different passwords for each online service. 

At many places, I find a drawer, a wall, or a spot under the keyboard is the place where all the passwords are stored.  We think of hackers as some shady individual hidden on the internet, but “social hacking” is extremely prevalent.  Anyone coming into the office could potentially record a written password.  Saving passwords in a browser can be just as vulnerable because viruses have the ability to steal the information we save in a browser.  To combat these situations, we recommend using a password vault like 1Password or LastPass to keep passwords encrypted.

Another common threat is a scammer. A scammer might pose as Microsoft, an antivirus company, or another trusted source.  They might attempt to call and convince the customer that there is something wrong with their PC, or there may be a pop-up on the computer directing the user to call the scammer.  In both instances, the goal is to gain remote access to the victim’s computer and either lock the computer and require payment to unlock it, or steal the passwords saved on the computer (usually banking and email passwords).  These attackers are easily defeated by your refusal to cooperate.  They cannot harm the computer if no one lets them control it. 

Finally, a new and destructive form of malware is attacking computers. It is known as “ransomware” which is a virus designed to lock all the data on a computer.  The attacker then requires payment to release the files.  While some variants only target pictures and documents, others destroy every file on the computer, rendering it completely unusable.  Less than 1% of ransomware viruses can be recovered without paying the ransom.   

To add to the complexity of the issue, these viruses are often undetectable by antivirus software. They can be disguised as PDF, ZIP, or DOC attachments claiming to be a wire transfer, shipping label, important document, a picture, etc.  We recommend using extreme caution when opening attachment files.  Few programs are designed to protect against ransomware.  We recommend Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud as an industry leading antivirus that protects businesses from ransomware.  For home users, we recommend Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Pro, which has features that protect against ransomware.

These are just a few of the threats that exist on the internet and how we recommend combatting them.  Because confidential information is increasingly being made available online and more businesses are moving to paperless files, it is important to understand what kind of information is being stored on the computer, who has access to that information, and what steps are being taken to ensure the safety of that information.  Hackers will continue to find new methods to gain access to data, so your business setup must be ready to adapt as these new threats invade the Internet.

Gareth Pereira owns D-Best Technologies.  The company specializes in on-site and in-shop business information technology services including networking and firewall service, data encryption, antivirus, and server configuration.  Consumer services are also available both on-site and in-shop.


by Gareth Pereira

Gareth Pereira owns D-Best Technologies. The company specializes in on-site and in-shop business information technology services including networking and firewall service, data encryption, antivirus, and server configuration. Consumer services are also available both on-site and in-shop.

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