In today’s world of increasing cybercrime and the risk of password or data theft, ask yourself these 5 questions before you click on that link:
Do you know and trust the person sending or sharing this link? If it’s sent by a friend or family member, chances are it’s OK. If for any reason you are unsure,
call and verify that they sent the mail. If you don’t recognise the name, the email address or the content, then its best to avoid it.
Be wary of emails that mention your name in the subject line or which claim to come from a bank.
Do you know the platform? This revolves around common sense. If you are on for e.g. a private Whats App group or if a link has been shared on your company’s Intranet,
then there is no need to worry. Be wary of emails in your Spam folder or anonymous social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. Rather avoid them.
Do you trust the destination? Look at the link that has been shared. Does it direct you to go to a website that you recognise?
If you don’t know or trust the destination do not click on the link. Instead you can do your own websearch and visit the website via that route.
Does this link coincide with a major world event? Cybercriminals will seize any opportunity to get someone to click on a bad link.
So if you see a link for e.g. “the Nepal earthquake”, treat it with suspicion and apply the 3 abovementioned questions.
Has the link been shortened? Check the link address carefully for any shortened or altered words. For example, a cybercriminal might type the address as goo.gl,
in the hope that the recipient reads it as google, and treats it as a legitimate address.
Always be wary!
Author: Karl Thomas-ESET
The sad reality is that a lot of data breaches can be reduced by keeping your software up to date. Vulnerablities are constantly being discovered in Software.
Once these vulnerabilities are discovered, they can be used compromise your System. Make sure you keep your computer up to date with the latest patches and updates.
People are still too trusting in the digital world. We may have got better at ignoring unsolicited calls and text messages as well as salesmen at our front door,
but we are still opening emails and links from people we don’t know.
The biggest mistake computer users continue to make is using weak and/or reused passwords, which can be cracked by attackers with brute force attacks.
The rise of password managers and biometrics has alleviated some of these problems, but password security is likely to continue to be a problem for some users.
Amazingly a 2014 survey revealed that “123456” was still the most popular password!
Use long passwords with letters, numbers and characters and change them frequently.
Oversharing on social media
These younger generations are sharing almost every intricate detail of their lives online, leading to the possibility that this information is intercepted,
stolen or simply sold onto nefarious actors.
Additionally, this information can be sold to third-party marketers,
while cyber-criminals will likely use the same publicly-available information for social engineering attacks like phishing emails and links.
No security solutions
Anti-virus has changed and evolved in recent years, and its goal is to proactively detect and remove viruses, Trojans, worms and other types of malware in order to keep you safe.
Yet some people still don’t have a security solution, even though is one of the first line of defence together with ‘good practices’ and keeping systems up-to-date.
‘It won’t happen to me’
One of the biggest problems people have with information security is not something they ignore, like patching or downloading a security solution,
but rather the perception they are not the intended target .Individuals and businesses continue to take the approach of ‘it won’t happen to me’,
ignore essential security practises and thus express surprise when they lose data, money or information as a result of a hack.
Leaving devices unattended
A simple mistake many of us continue to make is leaving desktop computers or laptops unattended and unlocked. The same also applies to personal devices like smartphones and tablets.
The biggest risk of course is the theft of the device, but unlocked devices could also leave users exposed to data theft or ‘shoulder surfing’ spying.
Browsing on unsecured connections
We all demand free Wi-Fi anywhere we go, whether that’s so we can surf the web, check-in on Twitter or Facebook, buy products online, monitor our online banking or make a VoIP call.
But sometimes we connect to insecure and open Wi-Fi hotspots, like at coffee shops for example. This Wi-Fi is open, not password protected,
and visits to unencrypted HTTP (those not HTTPS) websites can potentially allow for an attacker to conduct a Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM) attack to sniff all web traffic and steal information,
like passwords for online banking. If you’re going to be dealing with sensitive materials online, it’s always best to always use your secure home WiFi connection.
Ignoring SSL certificate warnings
Ever visited a website only to be greeted by a security warning that it was an unsafe connection? You probably have at some point, and might well have continued onto that unsafe website.
This means that the SSL certificate is either invalid or has expired, making the connection unsafe and more likely to be compromised by a third-party.
Google recently redesigned its security warnings after finding that Chrome users ignore 70% of warnings.
Downloading apps from third-parties
It’s less common now, but some smartphone and tablet owners do still download applications from third-party websites and application stores, and this represents a massive risk.
Some of these stores contain applications that are malicious or which appear legitimate, but which have in fact been repackaged with malicious code.
When dealing with IT, always take the “best practice” approach and rather be safe than sorry.
Primeworks can assist you with any IT problems you may have. We have 20 years of experience behind us.
While doing research in trying to understand how people search online and what search terms people are using in relation to computer data,
we found that there were many more using the search term “data recovery” than “data backup”.
From this it would appear that data loss is a serious cause for concern. So many times we have heard stories of people losing data and did not have any backup in place.
The expression-“closing the door after the horse has bolted” seems to apply.
Everybody seems to be aware of the need to backup, yet so many don’t implement it.
If we are aware of the risk, why do we ignore it?
Primeworks Online Data Backup is a program that is easily loaded onto computers which contain your data. It then regularly backs up the files to your Online Cloud Account.
In the event of data loss, either by accidental deletion, encrypted ransomware, hardware failure, theft, data corruption or any of the multitude of factors that can cause data loss,
you simply login to your backup account and restore the data from any device.
The service is straight forward and can be implemented by anyone who is comfortable with computers and installing software.
For those who would prefer assistance, Primeworks offers a managed solution whereby we assist you every step of the way!
Don’t wait till it’s too late – make a plan to back up your data!
If you are not that “tech-savvy”, then feel free to contact us – we are honest, reliable and we know IT!
Ransomware is malicious software that cyber criminals use to hold a user’s computer or computer files, mobile phone or tablet to ransom by encrypting the data or locking the device.
A message is then displayed on the screen, demanding payment of a sum of money within a certain time, in order for the user to get the computer and data restored.
This restoration may or may not happen...
“Sadly, ransomware is becoming an increasingly popular way for malware authors to extort money from companies and consumers alike”, says Nathan Loftie-Eaton,
Security Specialist at ESET South Africa.
According to a “McAfee Labs.Threat Report”, there has been a 165% increase in new ransomware during the first quarter of 2015!
What can you do about it?
On the one hand, ransomware can be very scary - the encrypted files can essentially be considered damaged beyond repair.
But if you have properly prepared your system, it is nothing more than a nuisance.
Here are a few tips that will help to keep ransomware from wrecking your day:
Backup your data.
The single biggest thing that will defeat ransomware is having a regularly updated backup routine in place says Nathan Loftie-Eaton.
If you are attacked with ransomware you may lose the work done since the last backup, but at least you wouldn't have lost everything.
What you need is a regular backup routine to an external drive or offsite backup service.
If an external drive is used, please make sure that it is physically disconnected as Ransomware infections can permanently delete any backup files they find on the local machine or
Primeworks can offer a secure D.I.Y. or managed, automatic online backup service to the cloud, where your data will always be safe,
recoverable and accessible at any time, from any device with an internet connection.
The simplest starting point for an attacker is to play on a person's naivety and trust and get them to compromise their own computers.
This can be done via emails, imitating high profile Companys or people you communicate with.
Simple - If you receive an email that you’re not expecting, it’s best to ignore it.
If your curiosity really needs to be satisfied, try and validate the source of the email first before clicking on a link or opening the attachment.
Always be suspicious of unknown or unsolicited e-mails or e-mails that have attachments or links to other sites. Be wary of e-mails that state things like “You have won…….”,
“Claim your prize…” etc. Again, if in doubt, confirm with the sender before opening.
With regards emails, check that the 'From' address matches the 'Reply-to' address -
it is so easy to create an email that shows as coming from an address you recognise but actually came from another.
Have a reputable Anti Virus installed and up to date.
Make sure that you have a robust and up to date antivirus program installed on your computers. Update your Operating System regularly.
Antivirus programs may help but these are by no means foolproof as they often detect the virus when it is too late.
Apply Patches and Updates Regularly.
Ensure that you are regularly updating your Operating Systems and Applications with all security updates and patches released by the various Vendors.
You may have the latest Anti-Virus software installed, but it's no protection for 'holes' in the operating system or applications you use.
Should you be suspicious about something, have further questions or need assistance, please contact us.
For more information, have a look at the following articles;
Eset put out this article in April 2015 discussing how to prevent getting caugh by Ransomware
which has additional tips.
You can now have the latest anti- virus software and protect up to 10 devices, using a single licence.
You can choose to split the security as you need, ½ between your computers, and the other ½ on your Android smartphones/tablets.
Tested on Humans
Millions of people across the world rely on our products everyday. That's the best way to test them and make them great.
Virus Bulletin Award
The only vendor with record-breaking protection.
ESET proven to keep you safer.
Windows 8 Compatible
In addition to other operating systems, you can enjoy safer technology also on Windows 8.
Once installed, you will also receive free upgrades and updates for the duration of the licence. This ensures that you will always have your devices secured by the latest protection.
ESET is an international security solution provider with 25 years of experience in protecting digital worlds.
They lead the industry in proactive threat detection. To quote their co-founder Miroslav Tmka:
“At ESET we are dedicated to developing high-performing security solutions for home users and corporate customers, keeping out all known and emerging forms of malware”.
As Eskom struggles to cope with electricity demand, computer equipment is also at risk of being negatively disrupted.
“PCs are sensitive to power cuts, power dips and power surges, so take the necessary steps to protect them,” says Daryl Blundell, general manager at Sage Pastel Accounting.
“When Eskom cuts the power, you could not only lose the latest changes to the files you're working on,
your open files could become so corrupted or damaged that you will not be able to restore them,” he added.
As a result, Blundell has offered these five suggestions on how South Africans, especially smaller businesses, can protect their computer equipment during load shedding.
Keep your latest data backed up so that you do not lose hours of work or any important information when the power goes out.
Regular data backups are a must, not only because of load shedding, they can also be a lifesaver if your hard drive crashes or your computers are stolen.
If possible, invest in an offsite backup system. Data backups are kept safe on secure servers and can be accessed wherever you have an Internet connection.
Make sure you are backing up your data on a daily basis, but more importantly, test your last backup to ensure that, if need be, you can restore it.
It doesn't help having a backup that cannot be restored.
Invest in Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS)
In the event of a power failure or load shedding, a UPS gives users time to exit applications they are working on and save their work before they safely shut down their PCs.
Even if you have generators, they'll take a few seconds to kick in after a power failure - a UPS will prevent them from losing power before you've saved your work.
Switch off all PC's not performing critical functions
Any data that is open on a PC is at risk of being damaged or corrupted in the event of a power failure.
For that reason, you need to get into the habit of closing applications and shutting down desktop computers when you are not using them for a while.
Consider investing in a power bank
A power bank can be invaluable for managing your business when there's load shedding.
These portable chargers let you top up the battery of your USB-powered mobile devices so you can keep going when there's a long power outage.
Don't lose data to things like Virus Infections, User Errors, Theft or any of the other pitfalls Computer Users face every day, working in South Africa.
Primeworks is proud to offer a robust, technology leading online backup solution for Business users.
The features included in this online backup solution are key to not only securely backing up data, but easily restoring it from any point in time.
Super Fast Backup
Our software uses great compression methods to streamline the upload thereby reducing the time it takes to run the backup. This means less bandwidth usage and quicker backups!
Backup Multiple PCs – Not Just One
Primeworks Online Backup allows you to backup as many PCs in your business, not just one or two. Ensure that all of your laptop, workstation and server data is secured in the cloud.
Primeworks Online Backup secures your data in a military-grade data center. This data center is located in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Data being backed up by Primeworks Online Backup is encrypted locally, in transit, and at the data center.
Unlimited archiving and unlimited versioning is an important feature of Primeworks Online Backup. No matter when you backed up your file, it will be there for you to recover it.
Businesses may have all the right IT security measures in place - anti-virus, backup systems, firewalls etc. But there is still one major loophole in the system - the Human Factor.
Social Engineering is the term used to describe the processes that would-be criminals might use to exploit this human “loophole”.
One of these methods is by gaining the trust of a selected employee of a company, either by telephone conversations, emails or direct contact.
They use information gleaned from various sources e.g. websites, to make themselves appear to be legitimate and knowledgeable about that particular person or business.
They then prey on peoples natural “trusting instinct”.
Once this “trust” is established, they will then try to obtain sensitive information such as passwords, credit card information etc. from the person.
They might also ask the employee to log into a particular computer, thereby also allowing the criminal access to the system from which they can harvest sensitive information.
In order to avoid these type of scams, education is the key.
All staff must be made aware of such tactics and it should be forbidden to give out any sensitive information to unknown sources however genuine they may seem.
Phishing is the practice of sending out fraudulent emails, purporting to be from legitimate companies,
in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information such as passwords or bank account details.
These emails may appear to be genuine, even using company logos and forms. To avoid falling into the trap, be aware that no reputable company,
bank or financial institution will EVER ask for sensitive information via a link in an email.
Delete these emails from your Inbox as well as your Deleted Items folder.
Always be email suspicious as “prevention is better than a cure”.
Should you have questions or require help, please don't hesitate to contact us!
Backup Multiple PCs to one account
Primeworks Online Backup is ideal for businesses with many workstations and laptop fleets. Schedule secure online backups for all PCs in your company with the help of Primeworks Online Backup.
Rest easy at night knowing that your backups are on auto-pilot.
Backup Your Entire Business
Primeworks Online Backup is capable of providing secure, cloud backup for your business.
- Windows Servers
- Windows Workstations and Laptops
- Apple Macs