Is Your Data Safe From Ransomware?

Did you know that the average office worker receives 121 emails each day? And that’s small potatoes compared to the 269 billion emails sent every day. It’s no wonder the top reason for unsubscribing from an email list is “I get too many emails in general."

All these emails arriving in your office every day have a serious dark side. The potential to bring your business to a screeching halt is ever present in those small inbox bings that alert you to another received email.

According to the Anti-Phishing Work Group (APWG), phishing attack campaigns in 2016 shattered all previous years’ records. In the fourth quarter of 2016 alone there was a 5,753% increase compared to the same quarter over the previous 12 years.

Phishing attacks are just one of the many tools being employed to steal your valuable data. Ransomware became a billion-dollar industry in 2016. And targeted attacks on businesses are becoming more frequent. Researchers at Kaspersky, a popular anti-virus provider, saw a three-fold increase on businesses in 2016. They stated in their 2016 report that a consumer is faced with a potential ransomware hit every 10 seconds. And a company receives potential ransomware every 40 seconds.

Unless you have $17,000 to $150,000 just laying around, ready to give away as a ransom demand, you’d probably like to know how to avoid a ransomware attack. Here at Computers Unlimited we’ve been involved in a few of these situations with our own customers. To help educate our community of users, our dedicated support team created a short list of processes we think everyone should become familiar with.

    • Back up your data!
      • In honor of #WorldBackupDay, our first recommendation is to have a known and documented backup strategy. A malicious attack on your data will be less frustrating if you can restore a version of your data before it was compromised. And you won’t have to give in to the demands of the ransomware.

        Our team at CU makes time to discuss backup strategies with each customer of our TIMS Software. A quick internet search will show you a variety of ways to accomplish daily or weekly backups. If nothing else, make time today to back up the precious data on all your devices. Photos on your cell phone, documents on your computer, even paperwork in your filing cabinet should be considered.

    • Trash suspicious-looking emails first and ask questions later.
      • If you do not recognize the sender, if the subject line is unclear, or if the content appears garbled in some way, just get rid of it. And train your co-workers to do the same. If anyone in your business opens a suspicious email, it could be disastrous for all the computers, devices and data on your network.

    • Look closely at attachments and links contained in the email.
      • Some of the most current ransomware attacks are coming from email attachments that appear to be spreadsheets or invoices. Refer back to Rule #2 in this case.

        Get rid of the suspicious content. If you think it was sent from a legitimate source, call them and verify their contact information. Ask if they intentionally sent the email. Tell them it came through garbled and that you deleted it to be safe. Ask them to resend it. Better safe than sorry.

Taking just a few minutes of extra time can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. TIMS customers have access to our top-notch support team and professionals with knowledge to assist if they are ever maliciously attacked.

Check out this article for helpful tips on what to do if you suspect an attack. Remember, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”


Special thanks to Technical Specialist, Brian C., for creating the list of processes to share with TIMS Software users. More information is available on this topic. Contact one of our experts to learn more.