IT Terms: User Risks

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We know that all the IT (Information Technology) lingo can be confusing. Occasionally we like to post the definitions to terms that we use often. This post is specific to risks that employees encounter often that can completely derail operations. Although these all sound very scary (and they are), through education and user security training, your employees can avoid them all.

Malware

Simply put, malware is a MALicious softWARE program designed to harm your computer. Viruses, worms, spyware, ransomware, Trojan horses, etc., automatically download from emails and then attack your computer. These programs either disable it, steal the data, erase the data, or use that computer as an entry point into the wider network.

Phishing

This is a kind of social engineering that may start with a phone call or an email that scares the target into handing over the keys to the kingdom. The caller or emailer may claim to be the IRS and need payment right away or federal agents will take you to jail as soon as possible. The manipulated caller I.D. and/or email address appears legitimate. Employees can learn the red flags to look for in an IT user security training.

Ransomware

Malware locks all of the data on your network with encryption. The perpetrators then demand a ransom to unlock your data. Surprise! Sometimes after paying the price the criminal does not restore the data.

Social Engineering

It’s a trick. Social engineering is akin to the creep in the van luring children with candy. Criminals  trick employees into giving out passwords and fully exposing all the business data to the criminal. Phishing is the most used form of social engineering.

Spam

Not the canned pork shoulder, this is unsolicited bulk email or other digital messaging mechanisms. Cyber criminals often lace the spam with a virus or include incentives to entice a user to divulge secure information.

Spear Phishing

Like the name implies, this is simply phishing targeted at an individual or a particular organization. The intent can be to access data or to install malware on the targeted person’s computer or network.

Spyware

Software that loads on your computer and sends the data to a third party—literally like a spy.

HD Tech – Making IT Happen for 25 years. We specialize in bringing big business and risk mitigating tech capabilities to small and medium sized businesses on a cost-effective basis. Whether managed IT services or projects, we protect and support companies in the cyber age. Serving L.A. and Orange Counties since 1995. Call us at (562) 304-9330. Don’t do IT alone!