With more construction companies putting to good use the latest technologies, cyber security and responsiveness to threats are crucial. Although a hacker may be the dark cyber actor most people fear online, it is really malware one should fear. Often, malware is cleverly disguised in e-mails or website landing pages. If you find yourself suddenly staring into a message informing you that you must call a telephone number in order to un-freeze your computer or clear out a virus infecting your device, chances are you immediately break out into a sweat, your stomach churns and your mind goes blank. That’s only because you are unprepared. Arm yourself with the right knowledge and you can respond quickly. That can mean the difference between losing everything or losing nothing.

Warning! Your Device Is Infected! If you see this alert, don’t panic right away. Sometimes these alerts are designed to make you think that your computer has crashed or your device is frozen and being remotely controlled by a cyber criminal. Don’t respond to your fear and call the number listed on the alert. That is not a contact number to a qualified support professional who wants to help you. Chances are it won’t even connect you with a cyber criminal demanding ransom to set your data free. It’s more likely you will be connecting with a company who has crafted a clever sales tactic. They want to make money off your fear, selling products and services that you really don’t need.

Scan & Download Sometimes an alert will advise the frightened user to click on a link that will take them to a free service that will scan their device and download a “cleaner” to remove any malware that might be infecting. Don’t do it.

What Do I Do?

Before you let panic overwhelm you, first take these steps. If your device is not really infected with malware or being held hostage by ransomware, it may be as easy as turning things on and off:

  1. Disconnect Internet connection ASAP and turn off any devices providing the Internet connection, like servers and Wi-Fi hotspots.
  2. Disconnect any device or office equipment linked with the device suspected to be the source of the malware message.
  3. Shut down and turn everything off for a few minutes.
  4. Re-boot. If you acted quickly enough, you may have averted disaster.

If the message is fake, like an ad, your computer has not really been hi-jacked. However, while logged on everything is frozen. Break the connection and you might just break free. But, if in the end, you do find your devices infected with a virus, it’s time for professional help.

How Do I Know? Here are 10 tell-tale signs that your device has, indeed, been infected with malware:

  1. Operating system slowdown and slower Internet speed.
  2. Pop-ups start annoying you whenever you are online.
  3. Your computer’s hard drive is exhibiting excessive activity than seems normal or you experience failure for a disk to load.
  4. You get a notice of low disk space for the hard drive that seems out of the ordinary according to the programs and applications you run.
  5. No devices are connected yet servers reflect Internet activity.
  6. Any unauthorized changes to your online habits, like a change to your homepage, toolbars or websites frequently visited.
  7. Messages or programs that start to run automatically that didn’t do so before.
  8. Your device or computer’s security software has been disabled.
  9. A friend informs you they received a strange message from you online.
  10. Your computer crashes.

If any of these apply to your cyber situation, it’s time for a clean up job. If your company doesn’t already have a cyber security solution for cleaning out viruses, then make a plan today. Where infection is concerned, it’s not a matter of if, but when. Whether you use a professional service, download a solution or purchase software, effective, affordable solutions are available to suit every construction’s company’s needs. Knowledge is power. Consult with technology professionals for tips on what will work best for your firm.