How to Identify Malicious Email and Websites
It’s important to understand that viruses cannot infect your computer on their own. In fact, they can only infect a computer by the user executing and installing the virus. With this in mind, a moderate virus infection could cripple your computer. In extreme circumstances, they can encrypt all server data for ransom (more commonly known as ransomware). As a result, it could be catastrophic to your medical practice or business. Here’s how you can identify malicious email and websites to proactively protect your patient data from Cyber Criminals.
Identify Malicious Email
Here’s some good advice on how to avoid email-borne viruses:
- Never open email messages from people you don’t know
- Don’t open email from friends or family that you were not expecting
- Avoid opening attachments in an email with subject lines that seem inappropriate or strange
- Never execute an attachment that ends with an “exe”, “pif”, “com”, “bat”, or “scr” extension
- Delete your junk email regularly
More About SPAM
Furthermore, not all spammers send viruses, but virus creators commonly use spam-like messages to distribute their viruses and worms. Likewise, If you’re not 100% sure the email is legitimate, call the sender and ask before opening the attachment. If you’re certain you’ve received an e-mail message with a virus, you should delete the email without opening the email or the attachment. Then, report the message to your manager or Managed IT Services Provider. Remember, if it is legitimate, it can always be re-sent.
It is important to keep in mind that email is the preferred method used by cyber criminals to spread viruses, worms, and Trojan horses. Take extra care with your email, and you will protect yourself and your company data. Furthermore, you’ll prevent accidentally spreading the virus to family, friends, clients and co-workers.
Identify Malicious Websites
One of the common ways computers are infected is through malicious websites or phishing scams. These infections happen when a scammer links a user to a malicious site that looks like a legitimate one. For example, because they draw millions of eyes Microsoft, Google, PayPal, eBay, and other financial institutions are frequently mimicked. Unfortunately, until their computer is infected or identity compromise the visitor doesn’t know it’s a scammer’s site. Unsuspecting users will often input personal information on the malicious site, giving the scammer control of their account.
How to Identify a Malicious Website
You can avoid internet scammers by taking a closer look at the website URL (address). Typically, we read from left to right. However, when identifying a malicious internet site, you’ll want to read the URL from right to left. By using this simple trick, you can determine where the site originates, and whether or not it’s legitimate.
Here’s an example: http://windows.microsoft.malicious.net
Let’s read right to left In the above example. “.net” is the domain extension of the URL. “.net” is a common domain extension and can usually be ignored. Next, you’ll notice the domain name. Here’s your red flag that that this isn’t a legitimate Microsoft URL. Lastly, you’ll see “microsoft.” and “windows.” This is where the cybercriminals try to trick you. In other words, they added “microsoft” and “Windows” to make you think it’s legitimate. As you can see, taking a few extra seconds to analyze the URL can save you hours in virus removal.
The Web and Email Filtering
It’s important to remember that no email/web filter or antivirus software is 100% effective in eliminating malicious email and websites. However, if you believe a virus infected your computer, you shouldn’t panic. In some cases, your anti-virus software will detect a harmless virus. Benign viruses like these usually require minor intervention like restarting your computer. However, shut Windows down immediately if you believe your computer detected a harmful virus. Taking your system offline will prevent further infection to your servers and other network computers. Then, contact your Managed IT Services Provider immediately.
It’s a good idea to avoid clicking links from email and type out the web address whenever possible. Always double check the URL bar in your browser to make sure it is the site you intend to visit. When it comes to security online, you are ultimately the last line of defense, and only knowing how to detect scams will prevent you from becoming a victim.
Malicious email and websites are everywhere. Education and proper security tools will certainly help minimize the risks of virus infection or scamming. It just takes a little knowledge and practice to identify them, and an attentive IT department to put controls and security in place. Call us for more information about how Innovative Computer Systems can bring an end to malicious email and website virus infections at your healthcare practice or business.Contact Us
About Innovative Computer Systems
Innovative Computer Systems is a Managed Services Provider specializing in Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) and Corporate Business Technology. We work closely with our clients to understand their daily workflow requirements. Some of our clients include leaders in Ophthalmology, Facility Maintenance, Pediatrics, Law, Urology, Dermatology, Commercial Real Estate, Internal Medicine and Ambulatory Surgery.