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Do Your Employees Use Business Computers To Check Their Personal Email?

Checking Personal Email At The Office Can Lead To Potential Security Concerns.

Dallas business owners concerned about the security of their organization continue to read on.

This is becoming a common story. An employee decides to check his email during lunch and winds up spending his whole lunch break surfing the web. Eventually, he lands on a website where a ransomware virus is accidentally downloaded. Now, his computer and all the others are infected. No one can do their work until the ransom is paid. If you’re lucky, the hackers will only want a small amount to restore access to your files.

Depending on the size of your firm or business, you could pay from a few hundred dollars to thousands. Of course, they must be paid in bitcoin so this brings up a whole new problem. In the meantime, your whole workforce is just sitting around waiting. You can’t serve your clients, perform billing, or access important documents.

Your IT staff seems to be running in circles, frantically trying to figure out how to regain access to all the encrypted files. Even if you pay the ransom, there is a chance that you will not get everything back that you lost.

Data Breach Reporting

This type of event can ruin your day, plus there are serious repercussions that most business owners haven’t even thought of yet. For instance, all data breaches must be reported within a specific timeframe. You must notify anyone whose data has been compromised. Failure to do so could mean hefty fines for your organization. The nightmare never seems to end.

Each day, people get phishing emails in the Inbox. Hopefully, they’re well-trained and know how to spot these. But in many cases, people are simply busy and don’t take the time to make sure that some survey from Apple is really authentic. Instead, they click the link, eager to get their $50 gift card and guess what? They wind up downloading malware.

Ransomware Attacks Growing & Targeting Small Businesses In Dallas

This happens in small businesses in Dallas every single day. It’s one of the biggest problems business owners face today. Ransomware was a billion dollar industry in 2017, but today it has escalated by 250 percent and that number continues to grow.

It is now more important than ever for your law firm or organization to establish strong guidelines surrounding employee access to your company network. They should never be allowed to do personal business on a company computer and that includes checking email and visiting social media sites.

Train Your People

Employees also need regular training about phishing campaigns. It’s important for them to be able to spot a phishing email and know what to do next. Many employees have no idea what ransomware is or how it works. Though employees are your biggest asset, they’re also your biggest risk factor when it comes to cyber-crime.

Untrained employees pose a significant data security risk to your Dallas company. All it takes is one employee on a company computer who doesn’t know anything about phishing and malware scams.

For most business owners, there’s simply too much at stake. The cost of one data breach could be well over a million dollars, not to mention the damage to your reputation and brand.

The Threats Are Evolving

The threat landscape is shifting each day to include better phishing emails that can get past even trained employees. Once hackers download a Trojan horse or ransomware virus onto one computer, it can quickly spread to all the others. Some of the newer attacks are sneaking in the back door of your business and taking control of your business computers.

What Are Zombie Computers?

These are referred to as Zombies. A Zombie computer can be used by hackers for all sorts of unscrupulous purposes. One of the most popular is mining bitcoins. With bitcoins now worth almost $10,000 each, it’s well worth a hacker’s time and trouble to seize control of your business computers and use them to mine bitcoins in the background. It might take you months to learn about this.

Some hackers have been successful in gaining control of several computers at a company. These are referred to as Botnets. A botnet can send spam emails out to everyone in your contact list. They can steal your data or use your computers for their own purposes.

Many people including business owners are shocked to find their data for sale on the Dark Web. This type of data can be sold for a lot of money, especially if it comes from a legal or medical firm. Imagine your client’s banking information and credit card information for sale on the Dark Web.

Hackers are looking for more thorough information like medical records. This type of info is worth big bucks to hackers.

If you suddenly notice that your computers are no longer working the way they should, it’s important to have an IT tech look them over. There are a few tell-tale signs, such as:

  • Messages that say your computer has been hacked
  • Your antivirus has been disabled
  • Frequent pop-ups
  • Your computer acts strangely
  • Your passwords no longer work
  • Web browser has new tools
  • Software has been downloaded without your approval
  • Redirected web searches

What Should You Do?

If you notice any of these anomalies, contact an experienced IT professional and tell them what you suspect. They can check your computers for viruses, eliminate them and then install better security so hackers won’t be able to get into your network anymore.

There are lots of things you can do to protect your network and data. Your business or law firm should have strictly enforced security policies. Employees must be trained properly and be fully aware of the risks involved.

Ask your IT Service Company to establish a Mobile Device Management program to manage the security of all employee-owned devices. An MDM program should include security for all devices, as well as the ability to remotely erase the data on a device that has been lost or stolen.

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