Friday, May 19, 2017

Northern Savings offers tips for computer protection in wake of ransomware attacks

In the fallout of the recent ransomeware Internet attacks of the last  few weeks, the Northwest Financial Services Institute Northern Savings has offered reassurance to its customers that they have taken all steps required to protect the Prince Rupert based financial organization from any attack on their computer systems.

The most recent global attack was called Wanna Cry and was a large scale online attack which affected over 150 countries targeting a number of professional and commercial institutions, locking keyboards and computers and denying access to users until a ransom was paid, with most of the unlucky targets told to use the Bitcoin monetary system to unlock their computers.

Wired magazine recently offered up some background on the growing threat posed by the computer hostage takers.

In an information page posted to their website, Northern Savings provided some background to the work that they have done locally along with their technology partners and IT department to ensure that cybersecurity protection remains strong when it comes to their corporate servers and files.

They also pass along some advice from their security advisers as to what measures their customers can take to protect their own computers from what seems to be a never ending string of attempts to gain access or information from our home files.

Besides a suggestion to upgrade and update anti virus protection on home computers, the Northern Savings notes include a look at how email addresses have become a vulnerable point for the home computer.

One of the areas most vulnerable during these types of events is your email address. Attackers try to maximize the impact by sending series of emails targeting corporate users with requests for action. Either providing login credentials, authorizing transactions or downloading documents under suggesting subjects like “Urgent” or “Please Reply Immediately”. 

In most cases, the originating email addresses look like valid email addresses, but if you look closely, you can tell the difference. One of the key strategies is to register email addresses with a missing or extra letter in the name. Other forms of spoofing include replacing letters with numbers or registering fake domains with similar grammar.

Northern Savings also outlines what customers of their institution should do if they have concerns about any email that they may receive that might be suspicious.

 If you receive any email over the next few days with an unusual subject line, we recommend contacting the sender directly via telephone. If you receive an email from Northern Savings that looks suspicious please do not hesitate and contact your local branch. We will be more than happy to look at it and assist you if needed.

You can review the full range of the Information notes from Northern Savings here.

For more items related to the Northwest Commercial scene see our archive page here.

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