“Cybersecurity?  I’m sure we’re fine.”

If your company or organization hasn’t made cybersecurity a priority yet, it’s not a question of if you’ll be compromised.  It’s when will you be compromised.  Often detection only occurs after the damage has already been done.  According to a recent report from Barracuda Networks, attackers are disguising malicious files as the files business users are using on a daily basis.  Here are the files to watch out for.

PDF Files

Out of all the PDF files scanned by Barracuda just in the last three months, nearly 41 million of them were somehow part of a cyberattack.  PDF files either contained links to malicious websites or included active scripts.  “PDF files represent the highest volume of weaponized file types” because they’re easily created, transmitted, and users are comfortable opening them.

JavaScript and VisualBasic Scripting Attacks

Both of these script types can be embedded into other files.  HTML and rich text documents such RTF and Office files can contain embedded scripts that can be triggered once the files are opened.  An astounding 75% of these embedded scripts are malicious attacks.  This method is by far the most efficient at delivering sophisticated code as well.  In a sample of 70 million Office documents scanned over the last three months, over 4.7 million were flagged as malicious or suspicious.

Compressed Files

Zip compression and other methods of file compression are so common that the functionality is built into the operating system.  These files can contain nearly anything, but they also make it easier to disguise attacks so that you never realize it even happened.  Non-malware infections such as PowerShell scripts make use of this method quite effectively.

How to Avoid Becoming a Victim

Make sure you’re running some sort of security software.  Any software is better than no software, but we recommend Webroot.  Home users likely have access to free software from their ISP.  You can see it in this episode of Tech Tip Tuesday.

Additionally, be careful with opening attachments from people you don’t recognize.  Even if you do recognize the person, if you’re not expecting a file, don’t open it.  The same can be said of websites.  Be careful downloading and opening files from websites you’re not familiar with.

Finally, in a business environment, user accounts should not have permission to make the changes attackers attempt.  This typically requires an IT professional (like Pit Crew IT Services) to set up accounts properly throughout your entire network.

If you don’t have an IT service provider (or need a better one), we can help with that.  Click on the button below to schedule a free business consultation, and get on track for a more secure IT solution.

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