A couple weeks ago, a few employees received an email from another employee. This email contained an attachment, which some employees opened since they knew the sender. Unfortunately, the sender’s email had been hacked and the attachment contained a virus. Fortunately, our system’s malware and endpoint security programs caught the virus and prevented it from doing too much damage. This week, it was discovered that the virus had placed files not only on the opener’s computer but on network drives that the opener has access to. Others who have access to the same network drives could potentially be at risk if they were to open the files contained on these network drives.
Anyone with a computer with internet access is vulnerable to viruses and malware. Using the story as an example, your computer can be exposed to these vulnerabilities through spam, attachments, hyperlinks, fake virus alerts (usually pop-ups), and other downloads.
It is imperative that users are proactive in protecting their computers and email accounts against these threats. Viruses can affect both you and other users if you are not careful. Microsoft has some tips for internet safety at home. One major thing people can do is recognize potential spam/phishing emails. On the surface, these emails look valid, but usually have indicators of a phishing scam such as misspellings, links, and threats. These emails can look like they come from real companies to sucker you into opening file attachments or links included with the email. I’ve gotten several of these types of emails delivered to my personal email address. My first tip off that an email is a phishing scam is that the sender is a business I’m not affiliated with, usually a bank. If links are contained within the email, I like to hover over the link to make sure the link is going somewhere valid. If the link does not match the text, then I determine the email is probably a scam and mark it as spam.
Keeping current on potential threats and scams can also help save your computer. Companies such as Symantec and McAfee will list current virus threats and their risk level. Symantec, McAfee and Malwarebytes have software that you can install to keep your computer safe.
For more information on how to protect yourself or remove virus threats, please feel free to click on the links below: