Ransomware attacks can be devastating for any individual or business. In the past, installing antivirus software was enough to protect against most online threats. However, in today's world, antivirus alone is not sufficient to keep you safe from cybercriminals. One of the biggest ways you can invite an attack is by downloading a file infected with malware.
As an employee, it's essential to be aware of five seemingly innocent download habits that you must stop doing now to avoid becoming a victim of ransomware.
Firstly, stop downloading apps from unknown sources. While there are countless free apps available online, hackers are experts at using curiosity and "clickbait" to lure you into downloading a malicious app. To prevent rogue apps from installing, configure your devices to disallow the installation of programs from unauthorized sources. On your phone, only download apps from your device's respective app store, which meets the store's security and privacy requirements.
Secondly, stop surfing the web unprotected, particularly when accessing downloads. This is especially true if you're on public Wi-Fi. Using public Wi-Fi without proper endpoint protection solutions like a VPN can be risky. It's best to talk to your IT company about installing more than just antivirus, but endpoint protection solutions, like a VPN, that will "hide" you from cybercriminals and filter out nefarious websites and attacks.
Thirdly, stop opening and downloading files emailed to you without extreme caution. Phishing attacks via email are still the number one way hackers gain access to a network. It's crucial to be careful when opening emails and attachments, especially if they seem suspicious. It's far safer to use IT-managed file sharing like OnDrive, SharePoint or Citrix ShareFile to send attachments.
Fourthly, stop downloading "bloatware." Some legitimate and reputable apps sneak in other applications or toolbars that you don't need. They sell this as a sponsorship to make more money every time one of their users downloads an app. So, before installing a new app, look for checkboxes that automatically opt you into services by default.
Finally, stop downloading music, software, games, movies, and the like from peer-to-peer file-sharing sites like BitTorrent, RARBG, and 1337x. These sites are often breeding grounds for hackers who post files infected with malicious software for people to download.
As a business owner, it's essential to ensure that your employees are following these practices for both their work and personal devices. However, it's also crucial to have business machines locked down, preventing employees from downloading any applications or files that could harm you and compromise your security.
If you're worried about the security of your company's devices, you can always schedule a quick 10-minute call with us at ShieldIT Networks. We can help you implement security systems that will give you stronger protection against hackers and against employees who accidentally click on or download a malicious file.