“Loose Lips Sink Ships”, that age old Force Protection measure from WWII posters has been replaced with “Don’t Click on That Link” warnings in an effort to protect critical infrastructure and corporate enterprises. It is about as serious as it can get, with a simple click of a link, a selection of a file icon, or a mouse cursor hover over an image, the worst can happen! An electrical grid can become infected with a Ransomware virus that shuts down service and causes disruption to one of our basic needs of survival. Or, worse, the infection may be a worm that embeds itself into the utility system, causing physical damage when the worm’s code executes and causes critical infrastructure systems to overrun and damage itself.
We see infestations already in electrical grids, traffic lights, and other Internet-of-Things control systems that are not properly protected by current updates to applications, or patches. The threat is real, and the vulnerability may be reading this article right now.
What can you do about it? Be paranoid. All email recipients must not be quick to click on email links or attempt to open attached files that were not expected. Take an extra second and look at the link or file. Ask yourself:
Does it look like something work related that you normally receive?
Do I recognize the account that sent this?
Those are two separate questions to ask yourself before acting upon the email attachment or link. Just because you recognize the name that displays on the FROM line of the email, does not mean the email is legitimate, or that it actually came from that individual. Hackers have been known to spoof contacts listed in the recipients contact list. A quick hover over the SENDER name could reveal a different email address hidden beneath.
Users are encouraged to contact their IT department if they feel that they receive a suspicious email. It is best to know the corporate policy on how to act before being faced with the unfortunate situation when a decision has to be made.
Remember, “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires!” Another relevant propaganda campaign of days gone by!
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