Technology Pointe Blog

Glenn is the COO @ Technology Pointe. He manages support for all of our clients, including help desk, cloud and projects.

How Do I Spot a Fake Email?

I was hoping not to have to write this blog.  I thought I would be retired by now.  You see, I received an email from a Prince in a country I can’t even pronounce.  He was in a jam and wanted to transfer his kingdom's wealth to me.  All I had to do was hold the money for him until

 
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he was safe, and he would pay me 1 million dollars for my trouble!  Of course, he needed my bank account and social security numbers in order to make the transfer.  Seemed like a win – win to me…

I can’t believe it has come to this, but these days it is scary to open emails.  Who knows what lurks behind those links; Malware, Viruses, Crypto locker, and a whole host of other dreadful things can happen if you click on the wrong link.

IT companies like Technology Pointe keep the bad guys out and protect your systems by putting up firewalls and installing anti-virus programs along with a lengthy list of other protection devices.  The bad guys know this, so they go after an easier target, the end-user.  When you hear stories in the news about large chain stores getting their network “hacked”, that is rarely what happened.  The real story is that they were allowed into the systems by end-users inadvertently installing malicious code and opening the door for them.

So, what can you do?  I am going to reveal to you a few tricks we use to validate whether emails are real or fake.  There is no way for me to give you an absolute guaranty this will catch all fake emails, but it will certainly show you how to spot and stop most them.

There are three things you will want to remember if you are questioning if an email is real:

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Are you Ransomware Ready?

Four percent of companies say they are “very confident” in their ability to protect themselves against ransomware attacks, meaning 96% are not quite so confident.

Ransomware exploits a company’s weakest link: The Employees!

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents you from accessing your data until you pay a ransom which can be quite expensive.  The number of ransomware attacks have been growing rapidly since 2015.  Last year, the occurrence of ransomware attacks nearly doubled, showing a 172% increase in the first half of 2016 compared to the whole of 2015.  

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Ransomware is Serious

It seems like every time I turn around there seems to be another virus that is going to kill me - Zika, SARS, Ebola, Bird Flu, etc.  I never worried much about catching any of these.  Heck, I can’t hit 3 numbers on a lotto ticket. 

Ransomware Blog Photo

But one virus that does concern me is the Ransomware computer viruses - Cryptolocker, CryptoWall, and Locky to name a few.  These viruses infiltrate your core data and encrypts it making your data useless.  You can no longer open the files and there is no way to unencrypt them.  If you are hit with one of these viruses, they are followed up by a message to send money for the encryption key.  The amounts vary, anywhere from $300.00 to $10,000.00.  

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There's Nothing Scarier Than Lost Data!

It’s a scary fact that 32% of companies that had a “major loss” of data were immediately put out of business, and another 38% permanently closed their doors within two years. Only 30% of businesses that had a major data loss were still in business within 24 months!

That is Scary!

The encouraging thing to this dreadful thought is that data loss is completely avoidable. What is frightening is how many companies believe they are fully protected only to find out they weren't when catastrophe strikes. Some were not given the proper guidance, while others chose to ignore the risk.

 

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Another Win for Technology Pointe Disaster Recovery

The call I dread the most came in this week.  A customer had a hard disk array failure on a server, and all data along with the operating system had been lost.  And for good measure it was their database server.  In the old days of file level backups, this would have been catastrophic.  It would take days of restoring data, reconfiguring the operating system, and reinstalling applications.  But with our Advanced Disaster Recovery solution, it was a matter of booting to a recovery disk and restoring the backup images.  

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