Internet Consultants Warn of Increasing Security Threat

Precept Partners notes increased sophistication of phishing and emerging 'ransomware' attacks; advise clients of need to step up internal security measures and staff training to protect company assets

The Internet consultants at Precept Partners have alerted their clients to the need to review internal security procedures in view of increasingly sophisticated phishing methods and emerging 'ransomware' attacks. The company's manager, Stephen Antisdel said, "The latest phishing attempts use "official" looking emails and web pages designed to trick people into providing logins and passwords used to infiltrate and control computer systems, empty bank accounts, or facilitate identity theft."

Antisdel continued, "A university in our region had its email system compromised by a phishing attack just last week. As a result, tens of thousands of SPAM emails were sent out using the university's servers. This activity caused the school's email to be blocked by Comcast, Verizon, NetZero, and other providers. As this incident confirms, it's very often an organization's own users who inadvertently provide perpetrators with the information they need to compromise the system."

Precept notes another emerging trend related to 'ransomware' attacks. (Ransomware is a term generally applied to malicious software that can disable a computer and display a message demanding payment (the ransom) to rectify the problem.) A recent iteration of the malware purports to be from the FBI or, ironically, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3); an infected computer will display warning that the user has violated a law or infringed on copyright material with a demand for payment.

Antisdel explains, "This kind of infection can be picked up by simply visiting an infected website; the malware is installed as a "drive by" download. We advise our clients not to pay the "ransom"; it won't cure the problem; it just rewards the bad guys." Precept recommends using up-to-date security software (antivirus, firewall, and website verification) as well as implementing safe email and browsing guidelines and training procedures for all company employees.

About Precept Partners
Precept Partners provides award winning website design, development and marketing services proven by more than $100MM in online sales revenue. The company has served clients in retail, e-commerce, OEM manufacturing, technology and not-for-profit sectors including Carhartt, Crown Audio, Fernwood Botanical Gardens, Foamiture, Olee Creative, PromoQuip, SC Supply, Veada, and Wear to Win. Media recognition includes coverage in The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and NPR. Client awards include the Inc. 500, the Internet Retailer 500, the Hot 100 Best Retail Websites, the Webby Award and many others. For more information visit www.PreceptPartners.com.