“Where is that wonderful smell coming from?” you inaudibly mumble to yourself.
“It’s a familiar smell.” Keeping your eyes half closed, you slightly tilt your head back to breath in yet another wonderful waft of, “Blueberry..no..blackberry cobbler.” Ah, it’s grandma’s wonderful culinary expertise at work.
Nearly everyone’s grandmother is like this. Grandmothers cook like five-star chefs, are kind, intelligent, and creative beyond belief. However, despite all of her skills, there are two departments that most grandmothers/grandparents fall short in: technology and security awareness. Sure, we can blame a generational gap, but criminal hackers don’t care if she is part of the baby boomers or not; they just want her information and money.
So, take off your Clark Kent glasses and get ready to help grandma protect her data, become security aware, and learn about ransomware since it’s one of today’s most talked about pieces of malware.
Second, turn on her software firewall. Both Mac and Windows have firewalls built-in, so you won’t have to spend money erecting this virtual wall.
Lastly and most importantly, teach grandma about security awareness. Even after you lock down her computer, she can ruin everything with just one click.
How and why can she ruin everything with just one click?
Because humans are the weakest link in the security chain. It’s not grandma’s fault we are all programmed with emotions (social engineers love this about us) and love to click shiny objects (email links and advertisements), which leads us to the latest ransomware trend.
Despite the headlines from the news media, ransomware is not new. Ransomware is akin to those 80’s neon glasses that are coming back in style (thanks Max Headroom).
Meaning it’s annoying and can easily be kept away from the public if left in a box. Essentially what grandma needs to know about ransomware is that it encrypts all of her files. Yes, even the secret family recipes, funny holiday pictures, and extremely long genealogy papers she’s been writing. Of course, this can all be avoided if she follows some sound advice: never download anything from unknown emails, click on links in said emails, and always backup the computer.
If she unfortunately taps on a link or two, tell her not to freak out, but to call you. In addition, she is never to take direction from the message(s) that will surely pop up on her screen, displaying the nonsense of paying for her files to be decrypted.
That’s it for now! Put those glasses back on so nobody knows your real identity, give grandma a hug, and go grab a piece of that sublime pie she was baking.