Attention Lakewood Computer Users: Six Cyber Security Habits Not to Break – Before They Break You | Ron Benvenisti

Since I have made my contact information available via TLS, I have received many calls and I am happy to help.

Some of those calls have been from Lakewood MSPs, companies and individuals who have experienced the most damaging of all compromises, Ransomware. They have been demanded by their attackers to pay several thousand dollars to decrypt their files and regain access to their workstations and servers. I am willing to help as much as possible and in a few cases have been successful where ransom did not have to be paid. In other cases I have not been successful and have used other methods, according to the user’s wishes. In most cases I am sorry to say that after at least getting the computers to boot, the original files have not been backed up recently or at all so restoring them is partially possible to impossible.

This is a time consuming process and many people expect me to do it for free. Unfortunately, because of the time involved I cannot do that. There are cases where I can decrypt the encrypted files and other cases where I cannot. Nevertheless any case is time consuming and I hope that anyone who contacts me understands that.

Many people would rather lose their important customer files than pay anything.

You must realize that even if you pay the ransom, many hackers will just take your money, perhaps demand more and even after you pay will leave just leave you hanging.

Therefore I am publishing the following six rules that is your best insurance against most attacks. Bear in mind there are new hacks appearing almost everyday so these rules are absolutely mandatory.

If these rules are not habitual you and your service provider will be liable for any fines associated with lack of compliance as well as any liabilities as a result. Your first contact should be your IT provider or MSP.

For more detailed information you should read my previous TLS article and forward it to your IT provider.

1.Leaving Your Computer Unlocked and Unattended 

  • With the slip of a USB stick, bad actors can corrupt files or steal information. This applies at coffee shops and even the office. Anytime you leave it, lock it!
  • Avoid unknown USB charging ports, too. They’re easy for hackers to compromise and can also physically damage your device
  1. Are You Actually Creating Strong Passwords? 
  • Using weak passwords
  • Short, common, old, default, and guessable passwords can have serious consequences.
  • Consider utilizing a password manager to help you create, change out, and remember your unique logins. And don’t forget to turn on multi-factor authentication (MFA) options!
  1. Are Your Systems Up to Date? 
  • Letting security updates slide
  • Every device, app, and antivirus you use must be using the most recent version to be effective. New security patches keep hackers from manipulating known vulnerabilities
  • See an available update? Don’t wait! Download. Reboot. Repeat.
  1. Are You Keeping Your Personal + Work Life Separate on Your Devices? 
  • Using company equipment for personal use
  • More than half of us are guilty of especially if you Work from Home
  • A personal text or email may not seem like a big deal, but the consequences are real
  • Risks are even higher when online shopping or downloading non-company software
  • If you do nothing else, delete personal data from your work machine
  • Stop storing sensitive company info on your personal devices
  1. Are You Staying Vigilant About Emails? 
  • Getting too comfortable in your inbox
  • At least 90% of company-side cyber-attacks come from a malicious email
  • Don’t let your guard slip
  • Take a moment to examine the from address in every email that hits your inbox
  • Along with checking for suspicious links. (Yes, even if you know the sender!)
  1. Letting Your Cybersecurity Knowledge Stagnate 
  • Cybersecurity best practices change daily
  • Don’t assume you know everything
  • Keep yourself educated
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