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malwareWhat’s the Likelihood I’ll be Hacked Over the Next 12 Months?

That’s the question every business leader should be asking.

The answer – it’s likely.  Over the past week two of my kids have been hit by fraudsters. Neither ended up paying, but both were initially confused. Had it not been for the constant security awareness training that happens in our home, they might have paid the bill.

It could have been malware, but in this case it was a pop-up.  “Call Our Support Desk Now!  You’ve been infected by malware,” the message read. My 20 year old son had one on his iPad; my 21 year old daughter had one on her company laptop. Both came by inadvertently clicking on a pop-up ad.  In my daughter’s case, she did call the number to see what was up (her system was completely frozen at this point.)  The technician on the line wanted to access her system, which is no longer on any Apple support contract. For $250 he promised to set her up on an annual support agreement and remove the malware on her system.

At that point she called me in to talk with him.  First I asked him how he knew we had malware on this system.  He reported that he had received a message from our system telling him.  I probed further to understand what he was planning to do to fix our computer. His explanations were technical but vague. I asked him about malware, bots, and signs of intrusion.  He wouldn’t tell me specifically what the problem was. So then I started asking about remediation steps. Was this a scan, patch, firmware upgrade, etc. He couldn’t explain. It was clear he didn’t know what he was talking about, but he was adamant that we needed a solution. Finally I said, how do I know you work for Apple. He explained that his firm, BTS, was contracted by Apple for this type of support. I took down his number, thanked him, and called Apple. He was a fraudster.

In my son’s case, he simply called Apple support directly, ignoring the phone number on the screen. It too was fraudulent. Apple gave us the right tools to scan both systems to clear them of any adware or malware. And, using Apple’s chat software, the entire process was free.

Your Client’s Don’t Know Any Better

The problem is, your clients don’t know any better. What are the chances they would call and pay?  They’re working hard, trying to get through their day, and suddenly a message pops up, and like my son’s tablet, the system is locked. Apple walked my son through a hard-reset to get back to functionality. How many of your clients would simply call the number and pay the support fee?  Sure, if they work for IT, they’re probably savvy enough to do the right thing. But what about the countless office workers, especially those working in small businesses without dedicated IT support people?

Fortunately, in our case it was a simple hard-reset. It could have been ransomware, malware installed through a support link, or some destructive virus. The point is, your clients are highly likely to be hit with some sort of fraud scheme, malware, or ransomware in the near future. If all you provide is basic managed services, or possibly firewall support, these attacks will continue, and your client is likely to pay for it. Educating them on this is the first step. But then, every one of your clients really does need someone to monitor, detect, and respond to these types of problems. They will only get worse over time.

© 2015, David Stelzl

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Here’s a rare clip from a recent Making Money with Security Workshop…don’t forget to check out my upcoming virtual workshop.  I only have 16 seats left and there is no travel on this – perfect for smaller sales organizations.

http://www.stelzl.us/sales_development_MMS1_virtual.asp

© 2010, David Stelzl

Just in from one of my colleagues, something that should wake up any lethargic manager or business owner who tends to be unresponsive to security treats – the threat of losing everything, including personal reputation, family trust, friends, and their retirement fund.  This seems like an easy attack…

– Malware was used to infect Micheal Fiola’s computer (a former investigator with the Massachusetts agency that oversees workers’ compensation).

– This malware used Fiola’s computer as a storage repository for child pornography – this is one of the fastest growing businesses on the Internet today.

– We don’t know  the perpetrator, but we do know that Michael was initially charged, lost everything, spent a fortune, and has not recovered.

Business owners need to understand how easy it is to do this kind of thing and how likely it is they’d be held liable.  It would be difficult to prove the pictures didn’t belong to the PC owner – after all, anyone charged would quickly say, “They’re not mine”!  More details in the Baltimore Sun – follow the link.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bal-virus-child-porn-1109,0,403878,print.story