Ransomware Shows the Importance of Updating Software

Ransomware Shows the Importance of Updating Software

People are frequently frustrated by the need to update software. “I paid for Adobe already” or “I bought a Microsoft license years ago, why do I need to pay again for a new one” is a refrain we hear frequently. Ransomware is the perfect example of why using up-to-date software is vital. It perfectly illustrates the risks of relying exclusively on your antivirus for security.

Ransomware can take advantage of macros in outdated versions of programs to encrypt all the files on your computer. It can even encrypt your entire network if your computer is connected to a network. In particular Locky Ransomware is an example that attacks outdated copies of Microsoft Word. It appears as a Word Document in an email, posing as an invoice. Once the document is opened installs malware on your computer if macros are enabled. If macros aren’t enabled the ransomware asks you to enable macros. Here are the simple steps you can take to prevent yourself from being infected:

  • 1 – Don’t open email attachments from people you don’t know. Locky Ransomware poses as an invoice from a vendor. Make sure you are only opening files from companies you work with.
  • 2 – Don’t follow instructions from strangers. Locky Ransomware only works if macros are enabled. If macros aren’t enabled the ransomware asks you to change your settings. If an attachment from a stranger requires you to update or change your settings it is almost certainly going to be to your detriment.
  • 3 – Don’t use outdated software. You should never use software that is outside of the manufacturer support period (for example, Microsoft Office 1997 or Windows XP). Manufacturer support means there are patches and fixes still being written for the software while unsupported software is vulnerable to attack and will not be fixed or patched by the manufacturer.
  • 4 – Keep an up-to-date antivirus. Even though antivirus software won’t catch everything it’s much safer to have an antivirus than to have no protection at all.

If you aren’t sure if your Microsoft Office is up-to-date or if you need an antivirus license for your individual desktop or for an office-wide network please give us a call.

If you think you might have been infected with Ransomware or any other viruses or malicious software please also give us a call and we will do what we can to save your data and protect you in the future.

Reach out to us a (818)957-5647 or through our contact page.