So, you have a big file you have to share with a remote working coworker, and you can’t get it to “send” via e-mail because the file is too big. What should you do?

The right thing to do is contact your IT staff, or partner, so they can assist you by installing a secure, commercial-grade file-sharing application.

What you should NOT do is download a free copy of some file-sharing software without telling your IT staff or partner first.

You may be thinking why, what’s the big deal?

Here’s four risks you could be putting on your business…

#1  Malicious Browser Extensions

These browser extensions can provide a very powerful opportunity for viruses to infect your devices and create a tunnel for stealing your business and personal data. Most of these tools, even legit ones, have permission to modify search results and have access to your memory and processor.

What’s the problem?

  • Hackers can steal your login info and browsing history.
  • Your emails and social media accounts may be compromised.
  • They usually slow down your page load speed.
  • You can be targeted for advertising, or malvertising (or Malicious Advertising).

The worst part is a lot of these malicious apps can be installed directly from the Google Chrome Play Store. It’s only natural that users trust an official store, but hackers like to exploit that trust.

#2  Fake download buttons

This scam has been around for decades and still remains a very popular method of attack. You may have seen these big buttons with giant ‘Download’ signs on them – the only problem is, the link actually leads to a malicious download or to a compromised pop-up. The actual download link is small and barely visible, often in black and white colors. Sometimes, you have to scroll through several fake buttons before actually getting to the real link.

What’s the problem?

  • It’s easy to download a fake software with malware instead of the real software.
  • Trojan horses and viruses are often attached to the installers.
  • Often, they will include pop-ups, push-notifications and malicious video ads;
  • By clicking on the link, you are agreeing to subscribe to some additional service, toolbars or social media pages.

The rule of thumb here (in most cases) is to never trust big and bright buttons.

Remember: Think before you click!

#3  Be careful about agreeing to offers

Even if the program file itself is legit, the installer can still be shady. You might be installing additional applications you don’t want. If you don’t uncheck the check box from the ‘Accept’ field – you have basically invited malware onto your device.

Most malware today prefer to sit quietly in your computer and gradually steal your information.

What’s the problem?

  • Because of all the malware on your computer, your Operating System may slow down and can easily crash.
  • The malware can steal your personal information.
  • System processes are significantly slowed down.
  • Viruses from the malicious software can delete or corrupt your files.
  • Trojan horses and viruses may attack other, previously healthy programs.

Additional downloads

Software has become more complex and requires more functionality. That’s why simply installing the program usually isn’t enough. After you’ve entered the program, it can require you to agree to additional installations – plug-ins, media files and possibly social media add-ons. It’s a normal practice and usually, there is no risk involved.

However, these files can also be malicious, and you probably won’t know it right away. The only way to prevent your device from getting infected is to avoid these additional downloads. If you must install them, go to online Forums for the software, and check the information on the tool’s official website. If these additions caused security problems before, you will usually learn how to work around the problem in the Forums.

So what does all this mean?

Dropbox and other free apps come with a price: SECURITY! Or rather the lack thereof. These applications have had security vulnerabilities and data breaches in the past. Plus, if your IT staff doesn’t know about them, they can’t manage them or secure them; so, the golden rule here is: NEVER download any software or application without checking with IT (or your IT Partner) first!

We’re here to help.

Just call 636-542-8653 to learn more.

That’s it for Tip #23

Next week’s Tip will be:  “Start With The Basics!

Remember – It ain’t poisonal...   it's jus bidness.

‘Til next time.