Scared to open my laptop

Someone trying to hack into the internet
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Just after Easter we found out that my younger daughter got into the same school as my older daughter. On Monday night, we stayed up until midnight to find out what the school admissions results were for my younger daughter and it was a huge relief when we got the results. We were both prepared for a fight and had a line of action in place if things didn’t go to plan.  Tuesday was therefore meant to be a day of celebration. Instead at around 7pm, the unthinkable happened. Ransomware had infected my old laptop.

Switch off the wireless

My husband saw it and immediately switched off the wireless on my old laptop which was the same advice I was given from work. I have a new laptop but I hadn’t got around to transferring everything onto my new laptop yet. There wasn’t much left but because I still had my old laptop, even though it takes ages to do something I wasn’t in a real rush to transfer everything over.  Nearly all my files I save in the cloud, either on dropbox for my personal stuff and Google drive for my work stuff. It should be safe or so I thought.

Google Drive and Dropbox app

I’ve downloaded the apps so that I can save files on my laptop rather than having to keep transferring things or working off the internet all the time. Unfortunately, by the time I went to check my laptop again two hours later all my files on dropbox and google drive had become corrupted. Especially because everything syncs quite quickly when the internet is on. I thought I had lost everything.

At work, I have a shared drive too and I don’t know if I had corrupted anything in there too. I'm still getting over how careless I had been. I normally double check everything and I’m double cautious when opening something but I went onto a site that I trusted and I went to download a pdf file and it said that your adobe reader was out of date and you needed to update it. So, I did. Stupidly.

Recovering the files I had lost

Luckily, when I got in contact with dropbox, they were able to rollback the files to an event that took place before the malware had infected everything. All my personal files were saved. I tried to find something similar for Google drive which they don’t have but everything I used seemed to have been in the bin. So again, I seemed to have recovered most of my files for work too and even in some of the shared folders.  The only thing I’m sort of waiting for is how it’s going to affect my emails.  Surely, that can’t be it?  Or if it is, wow, thank god for cloud and for saving everything online.

Cybersecurity

Only the other day, I read an article in the Economist about cyber security. It talks about how people’s attitude to it is lax and how it is quite hard anyway to be completely secure. I guess that could be why I’m still waiting for something else to happen but on the plus side, it’s also been fairly easy to retrieve everything that I thought I had lost too. 

At work the following day though, I found out later that their computer system had slowed down. It might not be anything to do with me but now nearly everything that happens I feel somehow at fault for it. I take even more interest in the daily queries report to see if it sounds like an infected malware problem. And now for about two days, my internet is not working. Although we have been having problems with the internet since we moved over to the new supplier.

The next day, it took me til Wednesday afternoon to open even my new laptop because I was so worried. I didn’t want my brand-new laptop to be somehow infected too. I’m now trying to learn everything I can about cybersecurity. Most of the time I rely on my husband to fix it as he works in IT and so he’s in charge of all IT related stuff in the house and most of the time that’s fine. But I do need to be a bit more clued-up about all of this myself. Plus, it’s such a big thing with kids online all the time too.

 

About A mum and an accountant

Attempting to be an amazing accountant and an amazing mum, somehow combine the two and meet somewhere in the middle but currently failing at both.  Hoping that in a few years I will have found something I enjoy doing or found some sort of work life balance and will be in a less stressed out place but until then, or as I get there, I think I will vent all my frustrations out on these blogs! And the responses I've had to the blogs have been quite nice which spurs me on to keep going.

Replies

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08th May 2017 15:08

Thanks for sharing this Lilac 1
It's a timely remind that not even some of our connected cloud apps escape ransomeware.

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09th May 2017 09:54

Hi Lilac - thanks for sharing this. It goes to show Ransomware is more prevalent than most people realise. Apparently a lot goes unreported as companies and individuals actually pay the hackers to recover their files and do not publicise due to embarrassment. I personally know of one FTSE 100 company that was infected and it caused hundreds of days of lost productivity. My advice is to ensure that as well as having cloud synced backed up files you also have discrete snapshots that allow you to recover the entire file and folder structure if needed.

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By chatman
11th May 2017 10:25

Good to know that Dropbox can restore all the pre-encryption files.

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By Robjoy
11th May 2017 15:02

Which is why you can't beat a 'cold' backup. Get yourself an external USB hard drive. Only attach it to update your backup, make sure you remove it again afterwards. I can highly recommend SyncToy for a backup program (https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=15155).

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11th May 2017 15:09

I am IT literate and my son in law who is an IT guru updates me with what to watch out for. However its becoming more difficult insofar as the URL mimick the real ones.

So I have a rule. I never update anything from within an email or at a prompt. I go to the website from a full encrypted password app and update software that way.

I never open attachements without first checking the source and if unknown ignore it.

No one may or can use my laptop. Shared laptops, especially with teenagers are a malware trap.

Will that save me. Probably not

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By Robjoy
to richardterhorst
06th Jun 2017 11:55

No guarantees, of course, but you have recognised that the most insecure component of any system is the life-form using it! Your rules are excellent. Just add the obvious: never give anyone not personally known to me remote control.

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11th May 2017 16:53

Thanks for your replies.

I do have an external hard drive but had become slack at backing it up to it as everything would automatically save to the cloud. I should start using it again. Or start doing snapshot which I've heard of but not quite sure what it is.

Thanks for reminding me to go to the actual website for upgrades etc. I still can't believe I became so careless and opened an actual pop up.

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