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End User Awareness: Ransomware

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By: prezzio

September 24, 2016

rsz_fraud_alertUsers are receiving increasing numbers of phishing emails containing ransomware, both at home and at work. Some users can accidentally activate the virus and as a consequence, their colleagues at work might be seriously impacted. This short communication will teach your users what ransomware is and how to defend yourself. Please read it carefully. Ransomware is a type of computer virus, generally delivered as an email attachment or downloaded from malicious and/or social websites. It could be masked as a document (e.g. a late invoice) or as a useful program. Once it is executed, ransomware encrypts all user documents, both on the computer and on network drives. A ransom is then asked in exchange for decrypting the files, otherwise if the user does not have a recent backup the files are lost forever. To defend against ransomware, IT support should setup a wide array of technical measures and procedures, including regular backups (and you may also want to backup your files at home). Unfortunately these measures are not enough when done alone. The most effective defense against ransomware is safe user behaviour and awareness.Don't be the weakest link! Follow these simple rules to protect yourself and your colleagues from ransomware:
  • Be suspicious with any email received from outside the commission
  • DO NOT click links or download attachments in suspicious emails
  • DO NOT download attachments from your personal mailbox (e.g. Gmail) on computers at work
  • Carefully examine emails before taking any action. Were you waiting for that email? Were you already discussing that topic with your contact? Ask the person it came from if they actually sent it.
  • Carefully examine URLs and file extensions before opening them
Are you interested in more information? Read the free Oxford University e-book, "Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What everyone needs to know."
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