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Alert – Malicious Cyber Attacks

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Cyber crime has become part of daily reality, where criminals apply more sophisticated software to defraud unsuspecting targets. Ransomware, one such piece of software, is malware that encrypts important company files and holds them for ransom. It is reported worldwide that cybercriminals made over $1billion last year from businesses attacked by Ransomware and, since they have learned to monetise attacks, their frequency and severity will continue to grow exponentially. It is a known fact that attacks on your computer system can also be carried out by hackers, purely deriving pleasure from damaging your business. The following 2018 statistics highlight the extent of the threat worldwide:

  • 40% of all spam email had ransomware attached;
  • 59% of infections originated from email;
  • Ransomware spiked emails increased by 6,000%;
  • 92% of surveyed IT firms reported attacks on their clients

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Most attacks come in the form of an email attachment and extreme caution should be exercised when opening email attachments.  Never open an attachment in an email you were not expecting to receive or where you do not recognise the sender. The same caution should be applied when presented with URL’s that you do not recognise or if it came from an unknown sender. As an employee of your company/store you are the first line of defence against cyber attacks. 

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A number of Arch stores have recently been hit. The entire data bases of the stores were encrypted leaving operations paralysed. One store had an external backup drive installed, but failed to pull it off the network for storage, which unfortunately resulted in it being encrypted as well. 

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In summary, the following three precautions should be taken:

  • Reputable anti-virus software must be installed and kept up to date, since it requires regular updates to counter new emerging viruses;
  • Be cautious of suspicious emails, delete them immediately and do not  open any attachments; 
  • The store must run an active external backup, which is taken off the network, for storage during non-trading periods.    

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Feel free to contact Rona Small (+27 83 227 1014) or your local Branch who will gladly recommended anti-virus software and advise on any other aspects of this real threat to your business.

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