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How Cecil’s 8th Birthday Party Shut Down Atlantic Canada

By admin on November 14th 2017

Cecil’s Mum and Dad just remembered his birthday is in a few days and want him to have some invitations to pass out at school. Who hasn’t used the work printer for that very purpose? They designed the invite at home, uploaded the file onto a flash drive, and Dad plugged it into his USB port at work. At that moment, a message popped up on his computer screen, every other screen in the office, and all the computers in his company’s Atlantic Canadian operations. It says all their files will remain encrypted until a ransom is paid and a timer is ticking down. Looks like Cecil’s birthday is going to be none too happy for Dad.

Why It’s All Too Easy for a Computer Virus to Infect the Office

Stories like the one facing Cecil’s Dad are all too common. Whether you are printing flyers for your church’s bake sale or opening an email attachment of photos from your intramural ice hockey team, there’s a chance you’ll be the unlucky one to introduce a computer virus to the office.

You might ask, “But David, what are the odds a collage of my cat dressed as one of the Trailer Park Boys is going to be the reason our network goes down in flames?” I’d say much higher than you’d think. CompTIA's International Trends in Cybersecurity 2016 finds that 6 out of 10 security breaches involve some sort of human error, proving that friendly fire is about as deadly in cyberattacks as the actions of hackers themselves.

In truth, it’s those examples of human error that are the stuff of hackers’ dreams. Hooking up unapproved devices, downloading personal emails, or connecting to the office network on your personal device gives cybercriminals a backstage pass. Once they get VIP access, all the firewalls and user authentication stop mattering. Hackers, through malware or social engineering, have an opening that they won’t ignore.

How to Guard Yourself against Computer Viruses

So how do you protect yourself and your company from harm? We find that both education and a strong backup and restoration response are two sides of the same coin. That way, you prepare for the worst but hope for the best.

Education – A good offense is typically the best defense. All members of your team need to have a situational awareness about cyber threats. Without hesitation, they should have answers to the following:

  • Which activities put users at the greatest risk of infecting their computers?
  • Which signs indicate a website is not trustworthy?
  • What are the signs that an email might open the door to hackers?

Modern professionals cannot rely on faulty assumptions. They need to be able to spot the warning signs and react in real time. For them to successfully do that, they need clear and effective training in advance. As part of our Managed IT services, IMP Solutions offers informative training sessions to provide hands-on guidance that business users can implement as they navigate the challenges of their day.

Backup and Restoration Solutions – Sometimes, even the best preparation isn’t enough. People make mistakes (they’re only human) and your business needs to respond effectively. When a computer virus is introduced to your business network, there are several steps that need to be taken immediately to prevent the spread of the virus and mitigate the damage to your business.

  • Recognition – Your business needs to spot malware or viruses quickly. Not all threats are as bold as ransomware. Using Cloud Managed Wireless can give notifications when suspicious activity occurs and even help limit the damage malware or viruses can do.
  • Isolation – If a cyber threat has not spread through your entire office network, it’s crucial to strategically isolate it. Implementing the right tool helps to create an air-tight gap where cyber threats are restricted in mobility until you can eliminate them.
  • Repair and Recovery – Sometimes, we all wish we had our own Way Back machine. In cybersecurity, time travel is possible – if you prepare to take your network back in time well in advance of a problem. Certain cyber threats are best addressed by just reverting to a backup of your hard drives before the cyberattack occurred. That’s why it’s important to create regular hard drive backups so your business is impacted as little as possible.  
Getting Ready for Computer Viruses Before They Become a Problem

In this day and age, something as simple as an 8 year old’s birthday party can introduce the type of cyber threat that can cost a business millions of dollars. However, being prepared to handle cyber threats facing your business can protect against mistakes that are harmless on the surface from doing irreparable damage.

Want to prepare against the worst cyber threats? IMP Solutions is equipped to protect your business.

Protect Your Business

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