November 6, 2017

5 ways to be Mal-aware online

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have released their latest 'Scamwatch' report this week, which revealed some uncomfortable statistics about data security. With the 16/17 Financial Year nearing its conclusion the Commission have received more than 2,500 reports of malware and ransomware. These reported cases have resulted in the loss of over $80,000 (from individuals) to date in 2017. These scams are developing with increasing sophistication, further evidenced by the 11,000 reports of phishing scams in the same period - citing a loss of $260,000 to date.


Business Continuity

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 95%  of Australian Businesses have access to the internet, 50% with a recorded web presence and 38% with a social media presence in the 15/16 Financial Year1. This increased visibility creates a proportional vulnerability, including email and phone as extra 'touch points' for scammers and malware to reach consumers and end users. Data collection and storage continue to grow exponentially, with just under 60% of consumers placing orders and 36% of businesses receiving orders, all via the internet2.
In 2015-16, the internet generated  a goldmine revenue of AUD$321 billion2

With the exponential capacity for revenue generation, storage and administration online, the protection of business-critical data is a paramount consideration. Employing user-friendly software brings clarity and simplicity to your data management - storage, backups and monitoring - mitigating risk  


Strengthen your business continuity potential in five simple ways:

  1. Maintain your assets - e.g your storage and backup agreements, anti-virus software, disaster recovery licenses and all domains for your assets and/or products.
  2. Backup, backup, backup - fortify your business network with routine backups; protect it with the 3-2-1 rule:
    • At least three copies of your data;
    • Stored on two different media
    • With one copy offsite3-2-11
  3. Audit your Inbox(es) - email regularly accounts for 20% - 50% of all Malware (includes Ransomware) infections1.
    • Take stock of all the active (in use or regularly checked) email addresses and ensure any latent or unused accounts are redirected or deleted.
    • If you do not recognise the sender, business name or email domain, do not open any attachments or links. Large institutions like Banks, Police, Government agencies and departments will not ask you to confirm any confidential account information via email.
    • Report the scam to the ACCC and delete it from your inbox.
  4.  Don't get excited - be wary when web browsing.
    • Offers of free content, ads, pop-ups, surveys or sites requiring the download of software or an app - can often be malicious, do not open them;
    • Check on the vendor website or make contact with them to see if the offer is legitimate.
  5.  Help is easy to find - If you suspect your system has been compromised by a ransomware attack or cryptolocker virus, you can take the following steps:
    • Do not pay the ransomwe strongly recommend against taking this action, every payment made to hackers through ransomware helps attackers evolve their code and techniques for future attacks. There is no guarantee your files will be decrypted or returned ot you.
    • Reformat your hard drive – If your device has been infected with malware, you will need to wipe your hard drive to remove all encrypted files.
    • Update your Windows system – If your system is running on Windows XP or an equally old system, it is strongly recommended you upgrade as soon as possible. Updating your version to latest version (Windows 10) will close more of the loopholes hackers can use to potentially exploit your critical data.
    • Restore your backed up files – your system backup software should be able to restore your files to your computer or contact your system administrator to restore your files.
      • If you are a Probax customer, contact our support team or log a ticket through the Control console for any urgent assistance.
  1. Scamwatch, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Business Use of Information Technology, selected indicators(a) - 2013-14 to 2015-16
  3. Graphic Source: Source: Veeam®