In today’s internet-obsessed society, it might be hard to imagine conducting business without internet, a smart phone, and especially email. What would this be like? Unfortunately, the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Commerce Department experienced just this for 3 months, after an employee opened an email malware attachment. Imagine how many man hours it would take to have to retype documents that were originally saved on your hard drive or if you couldn’t scan items to your PC. When you are accustomed to email, having video conferences, sending instant messages and chat, imagine how much time it would take to have to do all of your work by phone, fax, face to face or even have to handwrite notes to give coworkers phone messages. What about sending everything out by regular mail? Can you imagine how the costs might add up, and what if you had a question? What on earth would we do without Google?
Before search engines, many of us referred to handbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc., but now many of us are very reliant on our technology, knowledge and convenience, at the touch of our finger tips. We would be in a world of hurt without it and especially in the business world. Not to mention, our payroll is done via computer, and we are able to multitask and communicate to many groups of people, nationally and internationally, because technology is so far reaching.
The lesson learned here is that cyber threats are here to stay, and they are on the rise. Hackers target government institutions and businesses that we’ve come to trust. The Better Business Bureau is no exception, and there have been reports from businesses and consumers, alike, about having received email complaints, recently, purporting to be from the BBB. These email complaints contained a URL that could infect computers with “the Zeus or Z-bot virus”. Antivirus protection does help with malware and viruses, although “cyber attacks are increasing and are becoming more sophisticated”. The infiltration that occurred with EDA had to do with “a lack of system security”.
Education regarding computer virus protection is very important. Likewise, so is skepticism. If you receive an email that you aren’t expecting, it is best to question a person or organization’s motives in sending it, rather than instantly clicking on a provided URL link or opening an attachment. Sometimes, picking up the phone and calling is best or typing out a URL, as opposed to just clicking it . It’s always better to be safe than sorry!