Cybersecurity Safety

When we hear about a rise in infections, we gather information about the disease and take every recommended precaution. We wash our hands more, use hand sanitizer, we avoid noted infected areas, and load up on recommended vitamins. However, even if you have followed the steps to protect yourself there is still a chance you will still become infected. If that happens you will go see the doctor and follow their treatment plan so you can battle the infection and get back to being healthy.

Computer viruses and infections are much the same way. When there is a threat of a computer virus or ransomware, we should educate everyone in our office on how to stay protected, what the symptoms are of the infection and what the treatment plan just in case they do get infected.

Here are some general guidelines to help get the conversations started in your office.

Protective Measures

  • Update to use the latest operating systems
    • An outdated machine connecting to the internet is vulnerable and can be an open invitation to hackers.
    • Every computer should be running Windows 10. If you are running Windows 7 please note that support will end in January 2020. Microsoft will no longer provide any future security updates for these machines, leaving them vulnerable to security breaches or attacks.
  • Regularly run Windows updates
    • It is important to make sure that every computer in your office gets regular Windows updates to stay protected from known vulnerabilities.
    • If you are a BIS IT Maintenances client, we run updates Tuesdays overnight. On the days that the updates are pushed we send a reminder pop up on each workstation, so the end user knows to leave their PC on that night to receive the update.
  • Use antivirus and antimalware programs
    • Verify that you have a reliable antivirus program installed on ALL machines in your office and your subscription is up to date.
    • If you are a BIS IT Maintenance or you’ve purchased our antivirus solution, we manage your subscription for you.
  • Always back up your data
    • Verify that you have good backups that are encrypted and in more than one location. It’s always good to have a local backup and an offsite one as well.
    • BIS Automated Backups clients, we manage your backups for you.
  • Verify that you are using updated browsers and plug ins
    • The annoying Flash or Java updates in your browser can make a world of difference when it comes to malware and ransomware. Clicking on an ad can seem harmless enough but it could land you on an infected site and while you’re trying to hit the back button it’s working hard to drop files on your machine.
  • Insist that all third-party remote access software is using two factor authentication
    • It is very common for your vendors to need access to your computers from a remote location. Make sure that they are doing everything in their power to keep your computers protected by requiring them to utilize two factor authentication for these programs. Some of the most common types are ConnectWise Control, LogMeIn, and TeamViewer.
    • At BIS we use ConnectWise Control with two factor authentication.
  • Don’t click on anything that is questionable in an email.
    • Business Email Compromise is one of the most common means of attack. The simple act of opening an attachment in an email has opened the door to some of the costliest ransomware attacks out there. Here are a few best practices to follow:
      • Delete suspicious emails without opening.
      • If an email looks odd but it’s from someone you know call them to verify.
      • Don’t click on links within an email. Hover over the link and look at the URL that shows up in the bottom of your screen. If it doesn’t look right – don’t click.
      • Make sure you use spam filtering.
      • Do not open attachments unless you are 100% positive they are safe
  • Protect your office network
    • Setup a guest wi-fi for using personal and mobile devices. This way they can access your Wi-Fi without compromising the security of the office network.
    • Verify that your firewall is up to date.
    • As a BIS IT Maintenance client we maintain your firewall for you and will setup your guest Wi-Fi at your request.

 

 

Signs You May Be Infected

This is not a complete list, but these are some signs that you should alert your IT team about.

  • Your computer is running very slow – this is not always a sign of infection, but it should be checked.
  • Unwanted pop-up windows in your browser.
  • Your browser homepage has changed.
  • You have new and unfamiliar icons on your desktop.
  • A pop-up appears on your desktop telling you that you have a virus with steps to “resolve”.
  • Suspicious hard drive activity
  • Unusual messages or programs that start automatically

 

Treatment Plan

It is important to provide an action plan for everyone in your office to make sure each person understands what to do if they think the computer has been compromised. Here are some recommended steps:

  • Unplug the internet cable or turn the Wi-Fi off to disconnect the machine from the network.
  • Disconnect external hard drives.
  • Report the issue immediately to the IT department for your office.

 

Our IT team is always looking for ways to improve and keep your data safe. There are new group policies in place, new authentication methods we are adding to protect from email spoofing and new password policies. The truth is that even with all these things in place we will be more successful with your help in educating your team on how to avoid, recognize and treat an attack.

For more resources on cybersecurity please visit https://staysafeonline.org/ which is powered by the National Cyber Security Alliance and works in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to our IT team at 1-800-247-9045.