I nearly installed something nasty last week
We see a lot of computers and laptops that have a virus or malware infection and need our virus removal process.
Due to the nature of our work, we are trained to spot things that might be a potential security breach of a system. A lot of these are quite obvious when you know what signs to look for, especially when you have seen them multiple times. The majority of computer viruses and malware are designed to infect your system by tricking you into installing it yourself, either by clicking on something when you are browsing the internet or by opening a file sent to you by email.
Even though I have seen many of the tactics used, I still nearly got caught out myself just last week.
We do a fair bit of work for education and health authorities and I had just spent an afternoon updating invoices and contacting various accounts departments. I thought nothing of a pdf coming in with details of our BACS remittance from what appeared to be a council authority. After I had clicked on the file attached to my email so I could find out when payment was being transferred did I spotted it! The file I had downloaded and was about to open was called remittance.pdf.exe!
This was not a pdf afterall, but an executable file, no doubt intended to do some mischief on my system!
This close call shows why it is important to enable file extensions so you can see the complete file name. The default setting for Windows is to not display a file’s extension, so I would have only seen the remittance.pdf and not noticed that the file was actually an executable file (.exe). Not being able to see the file extension causes an unnecessary security risk, so ensure your settings are changed so you can easily see file extensions.