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Dangerous e-mail attachments

A momentary lapse and it's too late: an e-mail has been opened with malware attached, bringing the business to a standstill. Follow our five tips to protect your business against a cyber attack and run e-learning courses to raise staff awareness.

17 September 2018, author: Natascha Fabian, photo: Helvetia

A man sitting on a wall with a laptop on his knee.
Dangers in e-mail: Follow our five tips to protect your business.

Case study: An employee's inbox contains an e-mail to which malware is attached. The employee inadvertently opens the attachment. The malware encrypts the small company’s entire server and the business grinds to a halt, as all the processes are reliant on digital data. All the systems have to be reinstalled before everyone can get back to work. 

What is malware?

Malware is short for malicious software developed specifically to cause harm to users. There are many subtypes of malware, such as viruses, Trojans, rootkits and spyware. Cybercriminals exploit a system security weakness to install malware. As in the case described, this can be done via an e-mail attachment, but also when a user is browsing the Internet or opens a download. Criminals then gain access to the system in order to obtain money or information or infect the PC in order to blackmail the company.

Five measures for prevention

Take these five preventive measures to protect your business and raise staff awareness of the issue of cyber risks. 

  • Installation of technical safety measures such as firewalls, virus scanners, isolation of network segments etc.
  • Ongoing monitoring of critical functional parameters and privacy settings and daily data backup
  • Technical implementation of a password policy and authorization management
  • Continuous and timely patch and update management so that the latest updates by operating system and software manufacturers are installed
  • Devising recovery measures

Staff training is also particularly important, to enable them to identify malware in their e-mails whenever possible. Helvetia now offers free security training for SMEs and their employees. Learn more about correct behaviour online and handling confidential data.

In the event of a malware attack, cyber insurance bears the costs of... 

  • Restoring the data from the backup
  • Manually reconstructing the data that cannot be restored from the backup by technical means
  • The additional costs of maintaining business operations (e.g. weekend overtime for employees who help restore the system)
  • Loss of earnings resulting from the interruption of operations
  • A loss analysis including forensics to determine the cause and extent of the insured loss

In the event of a claim, Helvetia also provides access to a network of experts consisting of IT security specialists and others. The goal is to resume operations as quickly as possible.

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