As you browse the internet, you undoubtedly notice those banners and boxes popping up on the screen. Sometimes, they can be an annoyance, interfering with your ability to read the information on the page, but most people don’t realize they do much more than inconvenience users. In many cases, they’re sophisticated programs in themselves, designed to gather sensitive information from your computer.
Ads Can Lead to a Ransomware Attack
When the computers in your business haven’t been updated with the latest security products, your system may be vulnerable to more than just government fines and penalties. In fact, the problem comes in, when you try to comply with regulations and secure the safety of your data, because your first course of action is probably going to be to search a government website, or other official web page, to find out what you need to comply with the laws.
Unscrupulous advertisers know unprotected businesses will be searching these sites to ensure their compliance and that’s where they lay their traps. Their programs identify the business searching for compliance regulations and use that information to blackmail the business. The business will be contacted with a demand for payment in bitcoin and, unless those demands are met, the notice threatens to anonymously report the business for noncompliance.
Internet searches aren’t the only ways these programs identify businesses with much to lose. Malware designed for text messaging and phone apps can also target businesses by identifying keywords and phrases related to government compliance. In fact, Facebook actually aids these entities, when they identify key phrases and sell the information to advertisers. While this method of harvesting data is designed to help reputable businesses connect with consumers interested in their products, it can be misused by some. For instance, searching Facebook for “GDPR compliance penalties” will enable these entities to identify the business and its employees, using the information to extort money from the business.
Even larger corporations, such as Google, Yahoo, and Comcast have been targeted by this type of malware. The attacks don’t just stop with threats made to the business, either. This same type of malicious software can identify personal details about your employees, such as where they gather for cocktails, who will be away on vacation, and other sensitive information that can be exploited.
Adopt a Comprehensive Information Security System
It isn’t enough to guard data that may be transmitted over an internet connection. You will also need to ensure every device used by employees for business purposes are protected and that programs are in place to identify malware, SMS sniffers, tracking software, and other dangers. It’s also advisable to develop a policy in regard to which social media third-party applications will be authorized.
This especially applies to phones and other portables, so employing a full mobile device management (MDM) system is crucial. This involves selecting premium ad blocking software and requiring employees to install it on every device. The software should be updated regularly to guard against the latest threats.
The best practice is to seek out a fully comprehensive service. The best options will include VPN (virtual private network) services(中文版VPN推薦請點此）, malware detection, and mobile device protection. Only by ensuring every device is protected against the latest threats can your business avoid becoming another victim of data mining, extortion, and privacy compromises.