Editor’s Note: Here at Dispatches, we are always looking for ways to help our readers do things. For some of our readers, that means helping navigate the working world, for others, it means assisting in the ever challenging question, “what’s for dinner?” For still others, it means figuring out how to balance family life with everything else. In an effort to aid in all of these endeavors, we have collaborated on this article written specifically for our readers.
Scams have become more common in recent years due to the ease and accessibility of the internet. It’s no longer Ugandan princes emailing you about their hidden stash of gold. Instead, it’s deceptively clever emails designed to steal information from you while pretending to be legit services.
One of the most malicious scams involves groups of individuals pretending to be a subsidiary of Microsoft. They plant adware and spyware into your PC, forcing it to display errors while showing cheeky “here’s how to fix your PC” messages. Of course, most people would click it and think nothing of it. Unbeknownst to them, it leads to a fake company that’s filled with real people who answer calls and scam you for money.
Businesses are no different. There are computers, there are networks, and there’s sensitive information. Scammers won’t shy away from trying to con an entire business out of money or even trademarks if you’re a vulnerable and unprotected target.
Antivirus and Firewalls Help, but They’re the Last Line of Defense
Security software can cost your business a lot of money to keep up. There are usually monthly or annual fees, and they aren’t cheap to install either. Antivirus and firewall software is easy enough to use, and there are plenty of online resources and manuals that’ll teach you how to make the most of it. Unfortunately, they are the last line of defense, and you shouldn’t be completely reliant on them saving your business.
So how do you avoid getting viruses in the first place? It’s rather simple: you don’t visit anything shady and learn what scams look like. Sometimes, elaborate hacks are used to hide malicious programs, but those are few and far between and usually involve exploiting popular software such as Windows or your web browser. The majority of viruses come from clicking shady links or installing software from unknown locations.
Teach your employees proper internet security measures. Show them what a scam email looks like, tell them to stop browsing strange websites, and make sure they double check everything they load and install on the computers.
Consult a Specialist If You Think You’ve Been Hacked
Some telltale signs of being hacked are: slow internet speeds, programs take forever to load, random pop-ups show, and strange programs that you’ve never heard of appear on your desktop. When in doubt, always seek professional help. There are companies that specialize in ransomware virus removal and protection, and it’s much more effective than trying to fix it on your own. If you mishandle these viruses, they could spread to other parts of your network and potentially destroy your business’s files.
It may even be worth hiring a tech specialist if your business is susceptible to network attacks and viruses. Making sure your files are secure is the top priority, and many businesses find safety in moving their documents and files to the cloud. This way, there’s less chance they can be damaged when your network is compromised, and there is more security when the files are hosted by well-known companies.