10 Tips to Protect Your Landscape Company’s Computers and Devices
Can you imagine, you turn on your Smartphone to check your email and read the news—only to get a strange message telling you that you’ve one hour to send $500 to an unfamiliar email in order to unlock your phone? And if you don’t pay up with a prepaid Visa or through Bitcoin, then your device will be rendered useless.
You just got your first cyberattack. What should you do?
Ransomware happens when criminals put malware on your computer, Smartphone or tablet. When you boot up your mobile device or desktop, you get a notice saying you need to pay usually $500 in Bitcoin or on a prepaid credit card to receive a key to unlock your device. The notice that flashes on your screen will also tell you that if you don’t pay the ransom within a set time, your device will cease to work.
Why do landscape companies need to be aware of ransomware? Isn’t this something that only big corporations and the government need to worry about?
Unfortunately, anyone is vulnerable to ransomware, including landscaping companies, in fact Include Software worked with two of our clients last week due to cyberattacks.
According to Tech Republic, 49% of businesses were attacked in 2016 with some kind of cyberattack. One of the reasons cited for this uptick in cyberattacks is due to the Internet of Things (IoT)—a techy term that means that so much of our daily lives—including our companies—are interconnected via the Internet. And while being connected makes our lives easier, it also opens us up to more cyberattacks.
What You Need to Know to Protect Your Devices
Ransomware isn’t going away. It’s easier for criminals to lockdown your company’s computers, phones and other devices to generate income for their organizations than it is to steal your personal identity according to TechRepublic’s article called “Ransomware: The Smart Person’s Guide.”
James Sanders, the article’s author, states
“For criminal organizations, the use of ransomware provides a very straight line from development to profit, as the comparatively manual labor of identity theft requires more resources. As such, the burgeoning growth of ransomware can be attributed to the ease of deployment, and a high rate of return relative to the amount of effort put forth.”
Here are seven tips to protect your landscaping firm’s computers and devices from ransomware:
- Create backups on an external drive. Then unplug that external drive between backups to protect it from attack. There are also cloud services available that provide automatic backup services.
- Maximize the privacy settings for all of your social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other social media your company is connected to. This will protect your company from scammers.
- Limit the amount of personal information that you supply on LinkedIn and Facebook. The less personal and private information that is out there, the less you need to worry about a cyberattack.
- Self-destructing cookies through Firefox and HTTPs Everywhere can protect your devices from scammers when you purchase items online. With these types of add-ons, your company’s information and browsing habits will be hidden from thieves.
- Sign up for anti-virus and anti-spam services through your ISP. These services will keep an eye on your devices to make sure that no malware was added to your software.
- Segment your network. This is a job for your IT company to make sure that any company information that’s on your customers’ mobile devices and laptops are secure and won’t be open to attack.
- Perform penetration testing. Again, another job for your IT company unless you’re tech savvy. Penetration testing checks to see if there are any places on your computer network open to cyberattacks.
- Train your employees on cyber security policies. The more your staff knows about cyber security, the greater the security for all of your devices.
- Watch out for spear-phishing. Spear-phishing happens when you get an innocent-looking email only to open it to discover that it’s malware.
- Make sure all of your software programs are up-to-date with patches, updates and other protections. At Include Software, we’ll make sure we keep you updated on all the upgrades available for Asset and iCREWtek.
Ransomware is the new normal. However, you don’t need to leave your landscape company’s computers and devices vulnerable for someone to put it on lockdown. Instead, take proactive steps to protect your business’s devices.
Do you want to consolidate all of your operation systems into one software? Then Asset software may be for you. Call us today at 800.475.0311 or fill out our contact form.
DeNisco, Alison, “49% of Businesses Fell Victim to Cyber Ransom Attacks in 2016,” TechRepublic.com: January 10, 2017.
Picchi, Aimee, “Ransomware’s Next Target: Anything That’s Connected,” CBSNews.com: April 28, 2016.
Rouse, Margaret, “Pen Testing (Penetration Testing),” Whatis.com.
Sanders, James, “Ransomware: The Smart Person’s Guide,” TechRepublic.com: August 27, 2016.
Wei.com, “3 Tips for Preventing a Ransomware Attack,” October 4, 2016.