On-line file sharing and upload site such as Dropbox are great for easy access to your files from anywhere, but they are also one of the fastest way to infect your entire company with a virus or malware. Since most people use the “desktop connector” for Dropbox, all files that anyone uploads will almost instantly show up in your Dropbox folder as well. So, if someone unknowingly uploads an infected file, you’ll have it also, in a matter of minutes. We have had several of our hardware customers recently experience this nasty downside to on-line file sharing.

So, what can you do to minimize the risk? Let’s look at two solutions:

  1. Double anti-virus software protection
  2. Regular testing of files which are uploaded

Double anti-virus software protection

While there is no 100% guarantee of never getting a virus or malware infection, having two anti-virus programs is necessary these days. New viruses and malware come out daily and the anti-virus software companies are always in “catch-up” mode.

So, which anti-virus and anti-malware programs should you be using? We recommend Bit Defender (www.bitdefender.com) and Malwarebytes (www.malwarebytes.org) to our hardware customers (and we use these two programs in our office and at home). These two programs are updated several times each day ad allow you to scan files from outside sources such as Dropbox (or any other file sharing service) and even a flash drive (many viruses are unknowingly introduced to your company network through a flash drive with an infected file on it). The problem is that most viruses and malware lay “dormant” until you open the file or click on a link in a file. So, you could have the virus “sitting” on your Dropbox account for weeks until someone clicks to open a file. That’s why it’s important to have the two programs constantly scanning your files for suspicious code and activity.

Another reason to have top-rated and constantly updating anti-virus programs is to protect against the new, quite deadly (digitally speaking) malware known as Ransomwware. What is Ransomware and how does it infect your computer? Here is a blog post where we go over this new nightmare of a problem that is costing businesses millions of dollars each year. Whatever you do, make sure you have at least two anti-virus programs and make sure they are set to auto-update throughout the day and then check them regularly for suspicious items. Also make sure you are including your Dropbox drive in the scan.

Regular testing of files which are uploaded

As busy as we all are, you will need to appoint a person in your company to do spot checks of your Dropbox account by manually running an anti-virus scan (using both programs, one at a time) on the Dropbox folder (they can do it from their computer). These spot-checks should be done twice each week and don’t take long (you can start the scan and then move on to other work and check back once the scan is compete). If you detect any suspicious activity, call Dropbox right away and let them know that you have a potential virus in your folders. If it ends up being a true infection, Dropbox can “un-link your account” until the virus is stopped and deleted. If you get a Ransomware infection and all your files become encrypted, Dropbox also has a feature to “go back in time” and pull versions of all your files from the previous day (once you have manually scanned all your computers to make sure the infection didn’t spread throughout your office).

Conclusion

Invest today in two anti-virus programs (if you already have a primary AV program, get the second one right away) and make sure they are setup to scan ad update automatically throughout he day. Spot-check your Dropbox account and address any suspicious files (they either have an odd name (like XD122939BZKD, etc.) or they add an extension onto your normal files (such as .crpto or .123, etc.). If you suspect your account has been compromised, call Dropbox right away and have them “disconnect” your account until you are sure you have deleted all traces of the virus. Hackers love to cause problems and now they have found a way to make a lot of money off of businesses through viruses and Ransomware. Minimize your chance of becoming a victim.

About Nova Mesa Computers

Nova Mesa Computers is a premiere, Phoenix, Arizona-based builder of servers, workstations, laptops, desktops, storage systems and digital signage computers. Nova Mesa specializes in working with clients to determine what hardware will meet the needs of the software being used. Standard and custom configurations are available using standards-based components and a strong attention to computer-building detail. We use better computer components and follow it up with better service. When you call for support, you’ll speak with the people who build the computers, not someone reading off a script. Contact Nova Mesa Computers at 623-580-6848 (Toll Free: 1-855-978-6353) or at www.novamesa.com.