Are You Using Your Business Computer To Surf The Web?

If So, You May Be Turning It Into A Zombie

It all started with an employee at a law firm surfing the Web on his lunch hour. He went to his favorite news site and without knowing it, attackers infected his workstation. A malicious virus was embedded into it. The virus spread from his computer throughout the law firm’s network. This allowed the hacker to control all the computers on the network.

The key takeaway? As tempting as it is to go online between tasks to catch up on life outside the office, DON’T – that is, don’t do it from a company device.

Innocent Web Browsing Can Put Your Business At Risk

If you want to hop on Facebook for a quick minute or check your personal Gmail account, do it on your own time, and on your own computer device. It should go without saying that you should never mix personal web surfing and social media use with company devices.

Over 600,000 Facebook accounts are hacked every day*, mostly without users knowing that something is wrong until it’s too late. If you’re using a company device to access a compromised account, you’re opening up a door to a hacker who can then get into your company’s network.

You probably don’t think twice about surfing the Web from your business devices. We’ve all done this from time to time.

But when you visit a malicious website or accidentally click a malicious link, you can download ransomware or another virus into your computer that works its way throughout your network. This poses a significant data security risk to your company.

All It Takes Is One Employee And One Computer

Online attackers try to redirect you to compromised websites. They either create these websites or hack into legitimate ones.

When you or one of your employees visits a compromised website, your business computer gets infected and deploys a chain of malware throughout the network.

It only takes a few seconds for this to happen.

And you don’t even have to have to click on anything. You just need to visit the site!

Now your business computer has been turned into a zombie!

Huh? What’s this? Is it like the “Walking Dead?”

Well, sort of. A zombie is a computer that’s been compromised by a virus or trojan horse. A hacker uses it remotely to perform malicious tasks. The attacker takes control of your computer without your knowledge. He can steal your data or make your computer send out spam to others (or both).

And, just like “The Walking Dead” a zombie computer can turn other connected devices into zombies. Soon, you’ll have an army of zombies marching throughout your computer network.

How Can You Tell That Your Computer Is A Zombie?

  • Is it functioning strangely?
  • Is it running slowly?
  • Does the fan speed up suddenly for no reason?

If so, your business computer might be a zombie.

Now the attackers can exploit multiple computers in your business to create an army of zombies! This is also known as a botnet.

What’s A Botnet?

A botnet is where multiple internet-connected devices such as workstations, laptops, servers, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices are controlled by malware.

A botnet is designed to infect as many of your connected devices as possible. It uses your computing power to automate malicious tasks.

Even scarier … you won’t know that the botnet is infecting your IT system.

What About Employees Working From Their Personal Computers? Is This A Problem?

While Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies are meant to improve efficiency, criminals can exploit unsecured mobile devices to gain entry into your business.

Many organizations allow BYOD. However, unless these devices are secured and remotely monitored, they can pose a threat.

If these mobile devices are turned into zombies (like in the example above) and connected to your business network, “The Walking Dead” will take over.

What Should You Do?

Establish Strict Regulations Regarding Computer Use

Ideally, your employees shouldn’t use their personal devices on the business’ secure network. But in today’s mobile workforce, this isn’t realistic.

What you can do:

  • Make sure your IT Service Company employs Mobile Device Management to manage the security of these devices. It can also detect botnets and remove them.
  • Ensure your computers and network are adequately protected with a multi-layered, enterprise-based defense solution, along with Remote Monitoring Management.

Bottom line? Keep things professional. Don’t use company PCs, devices, phones, or Internet for personal use – EVER.


If you liked this article, you’ll enjoy reading others on our Blog. Here are some examples to get you started:

How Can I Best Protect My Business Entity From Current Hacker Potentials?

Improvements in technology have led to increased connectivity with improvements in security, but have also involved unique vulnerabilities and potential for hackers to access a wide range of information. Particularly problematic to businesses is the potential for a phisher to represent a part of the organization, or a supplier with a business connection to it, as they request organizational information or even funding.

How Safe Am I From an IoT Attack at Home and Work?

As convenient as our interconnected world has become, it has also made us vulnerable to an attack from hackers wanting to make a quick buck. Internet pirates are targeting defenseless networks with the sole purpose of hijacking our personal devices for use in their criminal activity.

How Can Instagram Accounts Be Hacked?

Last year, the service reported that they had 800 million users, only five years after being purchased by Facebook. Bought for $1 billion, 40 billion people all over the world have been uploading images for years. While it is generally considered a beneficial and popular social media app, the software has been targeted by critics for several reasons.

Published on 12th October 2018 by Jon Morningstar

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