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Can You Differentiate Good Files from Bad Files?

Exposing your network to bad files could cost your business a substantial sum of money. Per an Internet Crime Report published by the FBI in 2015, Business Email Compromise (BEC) was the leading type of Internet crime resulting in over $246 million in damages. BEC is just one of the many cyber scams that has emerged over the past decade. According to the FBI, BEC is a sophisticated scam which targets those businesses that conduct wire transfers on a regular basis, or commonly deal with foreign suppliers. In addition to social engineering techniques, scams like these can also be carried out via computer intrusion methods all in an effort to complete unauthorized transfers of funds.

In addition to relying on the fact we are so busy, deception of end-users is one of the most common tactics utilized by cyber criminals to compromise the overall security of a network. Unfortunately, attackers continue to find ways to fool people into opening malicious email attachments by making these files appear to be a legitimate. Thus, it’s paramount to examine the full name of each and every file before opening them because cyber criminals are known to intentionally add and hide malicious file extensions. For instance, an executable (.exe) file is capable of being run as a program in a computer and compromise its stability and the overall security of a network.

Consider these simple rules to differentiate a good file from a potentially bad file:

  1. If you receive an email from someone you don’t know or trust, or aren’t expecting, don’t open it!
  2. If you receive an email attachment from someone you DO know and trust, but you weren’t expecting the email or it looks a little fishy, don’t open it! Call the sender to verify the email is legit first.

Here are some general examples of safe vs. (potentially) bad files:

  • Good Files
  • Invoice.doc
  • NotAvirus.txt
  • spreadsheet.xlsx
  • document25.docx
  • Bad Files (Potential)
  • Invoice.doc.exe
  • NotAvirus.txt.exe
  • spreadsheeet.xlsx.bat
  • document25.cmd

Although not all executable (.exe) files are viruses, it’s important to remember that you should always remain vigilant in regard to opening this file type as well as some of the various other extensions listed in the chart above.

In an effort to protect your business and customer data, Garner IT recommends company-wide network policies to display file extensions to increase awareness. While it is helpful to differentiate good files from bad files by displaying them in a clear and precise fashion, it is also critical end-users understand the differences between each of the specific file extensions that they encounter.

Since applying our recommendation makes the full file name visible, Garner IT also stresses another important consideration in regard to renaming files – remember to only rename text to the LEFT of the file extension, as shown in green: Invoice.doc. Changing the file extension will render the file unusable.

Are bad files impacting the security of your business information and thus your bottom line? If so, then you are strongly encouraged to contact us at Garner IT for cost-effective IT solutions by calling our office at 850.250.3210 or drop by our offices at 1330 Harrison Avenue, Panama City, Bay County, Florida. Home of the FREE Network Health Check.

Best wishes, Randall and Julie Garner and the entire Garner IT team of professionals

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