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Protecting Your Computer From Intruders


One of my pet peeves is the misnaming of important concepts, whether in law, finance, or other aspects of the complex world in which we live. Consider the Affordable Care Act (it is anything but affordable), or investments when the speaker is suggesting raising taxes. Sometimes, simple words have been commandeered; words such as fair in politics and reasonable for investment returns, which are over-used, losing their actual meanings.

For that reason, I am almost grateful that the May 12, 2017 Cyber Attack software, which affected more than 200,000 computers in over 150 countries, is appropriately named “WannaCry.” If it hits your computer or your business, it would surely make you “wanna cry.”

The generic form of this type software is Ransom Ware, which is again a very appropriate moniker. When it infects your computer, you must pay a ransom to be able to regain access to your data. There are differing forms of ransom ware, but they all accomplish the same thing; they hold your computer and data hostage.

As terrible as this sounds, you don’t have to fall victim to these very clever cyber-thieves. Simple preventative steps, such as updating your software regularly, may be enough to block potential intrusions. However, if you have sensitive data, operate a business, or are simply a private person (it is OK to use the word “paranoid”), then you should consider hiring a competent Technology Consultant. We link to our provider, Boxmeta, on our website.

What if you open the wrong email, download the wrong file, or are in some way afflicted by ransom ware? If your data files are backed up, you simply restore the files from backup. Better yet, if your computer is “ghosted,” meaning an entire disk image is saved off-line, you can simply overwrite the entire computer drive, erasing any trace of the malware.

There is no business too small, no business too large, nor any business too simple, to allow the owner to be lackadaisical in protecting from cyber intrusions. Imagine the cost of restoring your data, including down-time, compared to the relatively small cost of securing your data. In the words of the very wise Ben Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Van Wie Financial is fee-only. For a reason.