Here’s a true story that could happen to anyone…

Recently, we received a strange email from a well-respected business owner and member of a local networking group. It turned out that everyone else in the group (about 60 of us in total) received the same email, containing an encrypted file. Several of our group members opened the email, downloaded the file… and infected their computers with a virus.

Email concept with laptop ang girl handsThe email looked completely legitimate, so we certainly can’t blame anyone for being fooled by it. But of course, it was the result of a hacker’s attack on one member’s email. Once the hacker gained access to the group member list, it was easy enough to send all of us the same virus-infected email.

We figured out what had happened at a recent group meeting, and promptly repaired the computers of anyone who opened the file. Luckily, it was a simple enough fix, and it doesn’t appear that anyone lost important data or compromised their customers’ information. In the future, we might not be so lucky.

This story is a good reminder of two important things we should all remember. First, don’t open email attachments if you aren’t expecting someone to send you a file. This is true even if the email appears to be from a trusted friend or business associate, because their email might have been hacked. If you receive an unexpected email with an encrypted file, it’s a smart idea to call that person and ask if they sent the email.

Second, keep in mind that if your own email account is hacked this way, it could cause you significant embarrassment with your business associates or friends. The hacker will send emails in your name, possibly infecting your contacts’ computers or directing them to questionable links. Remember to keep your email secure, by choosing a hard-to-guess password made up of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

As always, give us a call at 888-RING-MY-TECH if you have any questions about internet security. We can help you secure your network and data, and prevent embarrassing or potentially damaging events like this one.