Viruses are smarter, and nastier

In over 20 years of maintaining computer systems, I have personally never experienced such an onslaught of viruses, spyware, trojans, pop-ups, worms and ransomware as I have seen in the past month.

Security and protection of computer networks is becoming a critical component of keeping technology working for the small business owners.

The worst fact, we are almost defensless against these infections. Almost.

End-user education is the key component to protecting and securing ANY small business network today. Regardless of the protection schemes used, the fact is that a user can click on the wrong thing and create a catastrophic event.

The latest threats of Ransomware viruses have us very scared for unprotected small businesses and even home users. The general public just isn't being taught how to evaluate an email, or stay away from corrupt links on web pages, especially news article websites. The articles just look too interesting, and when clicked on, launch a viral attack on any computer, on any network, running any antivirus software.

We recently had a customer infect one of their computers with the Crowti virus - a nasty ransomware virus that encrypts every file it can find (especially on the local network) and then charges up to $1,000 or more for the decryption key to have access to your files again. This client was using our recommended dual-backup method and within a few hours we had them back to normal, operating as though the day never occurred. However, how many businesses are out there that don't have good backups; that don't know how to restore files; that would be lost without their data?

Recently I consulted with a teacher who had 10-years of her work on a single USB drive. She needed something off her drive one day and plugged it in to an infected computer. In a heartbeat all of her files, 10 years of work, was encrypted, gone.

These infections have cost AIS multiple hours of time for us to scan, sweep, clean, and re-check systems that are vulnerable. We are making the investment of our time to make sure all of our clients are safe. Luckily, every client we have on our offsite backup system is fully protected, and we can recover any of those files - quick, efficient, and operational.

Please be careful. Educate yourself and others about clicking on the wrong things. No email filter, antivirus software, or firewall can protect us from these threats.