(Monrovia, Liberia) During October, Cybersecurity month, Lonestar Cell MTN highlights the importance of protecting data and information from malicious cyber activity and protecting citizens and businesses from ransomware attacks.
Liberia’s leading technology company also seeks to raise awareness about simple steps Liberians can take to secure their sensitive data and stay safe online.
Cyberattacks can impact electric grids and fuel pipelines, hospitals and police departments, businesses and schools, and many other critical public services by destroying, corrupting, or stealing information from computer systems and networks, Lonestar Cell MTN Information Technology Security Specialist William Duodu said that Ransomware is invasive and destructive.
“Ransomware is a malware designed to deny a user or organization access to files on their computer. Cyber attackers place organizations in a difficult position by encrypting files then demanding ransom payments for the decryption key. Paying the ransom can seem like the easiest and cheapest way to regain access to the user’s data files,” he said.
Mr. Duodu added that Ransomware often spreads through phishing emails which contain malicious attachments or drive-by downloading. Drive-by downloading occurs when a user unknowingly visits an infected website and then malware downloads and installed without the user’s knowledge leaving the user’s data vulnerable to theft.
Chief Information Officer, Titi Fakuade, said the consequences of a ransomware attack can be catastrophic.
“Victims are at risk of losing their files but may also experience financial loss due to ransom payments, lost productivity, IT costs, legal fees, network modifications, and purchasing credit monitoring services for employees/customers,” she said.
“Cyber attackers may even demand payment to restore access to files or unlock your computer. They might even threaten to publish sensitive data if you don’t pay up,” she added.
“The good news,” she said, “is that there are practical steps you can take to keep your data, and your identity safe.”
She advises caution when viewing emails asking for software downloads or money. Instead, go straight to the organization’s website.
Ms. Fakuade suggests that when viewing suspicious emails, hover over links to preview the message and verify the URL. If the URL looks suspicious, she recommends that the email message is left alone and deleted. Then, go directly to the source to verify an offer, request, or link.
Finally, Ms. Fakuade encourages internet users to back up their data, change passwords for all your accounts regularly, and enable a multifactor authentication for account access for online security.
Ms. Fakuade said that these tips help you stay safe on line and keep your information secure. #Cybersmart #Be Aware.