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  • Writer's pictureEH Lim

'ILOVEYOU' no more -- Beware of what you click

Do you still remember what a fax machine looked like? When was the last time you received or sent a fax?

Let's recap how it works :)

You take your composed messages, walk over to the fax machine (telefax), insert the paper, dial the fax number, and patiently wait for it to scream at you -- deep and screech -- swallow your paper from one end and spit out from another end of the machine. Yesterday [fax] was a hero, an efficient way of communicating, but today is a dinosaur.

Email - The new king.

You can drop anyone a line instantly from your desktop or mobile devices anytime and anywhere. You do not need to queue for your turn to fax, compose your message in the email client, click on the send button and go. Although email is speedy and breezy, it comes with spam. Clearing junk [spam] in inboxes becomes routine.

I love you.


In the early 2000s, some of us may have received an email with ILOVEYOU in the subject and a 'love letter' attached. We were not expecting any love letter, and we [most of us] knew it could be spam, but curiosity told us to peek at the 'letter' -- the thrill of invading someone's privacy. Click, click! The attached file launched. It triggered the concealed script, and viruses started partying on our computers.

'ILOVEYOU' no more. Please pay to get your files unlocked.

Wait! Beware of what you click. You should verify the sender and contents before clicking the hyperlink. A mistake made can cost a heavy price.

Do you have a Plan B?

If you cannot access the files and data on the computer -- do you still know how much to pay your employees? Who owes you money? How many bills are still outstanding? What about your GST and taxes? Can you submit them to IRAS on time? How about your project costing and timeline? Your sales pipeline? If all your files and data get encrypted [locked], can you construct the data back from the source documents? How much time do you need?

Ransomware -- a scary monster you do not want to cross paths with.

You may consult your IT on a ransomware recovery strategy and back up your files and data -- please do not store your backup files with your working files on the same computer. Let's say you are using the MoneyWorks accounting software. You select the 'Save a backup as' feature from the File menu, then follow the backup wizard to change the backup path to an external storage device.

Backup MoneyWorks

If you need to restore a backup on a new computer, install the MoneyWorks software, plug in the external storage device and restore your file. That's it. Your financial data is back to the last entry before your backup. With backup files, it will take you a few minutes to restore; if not, it will take you weeks and maybe months to reconstruct from the source documents.

Be safe, pause and verify the digital contents (email, messages, or website) before clicking the hyperlinks, downloading files, or giving away sensitive information. Instead of trying to go faster than fast, a little pause and check can help prevent you from falling prey to cybercrime.

Be speedy but not speeding.


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