Repair Shop Advice

Ransomware Hits Auto Repair Shops – How To Avoid It

March 19, 2021

Imagine this: you open up your shop one morning, turn on your computers, and a message pops up. It says someone stole all your data and if you don’t pay them thousands of dollars they’ll delete all of it for good.

It’s called ransomware, and it sounds like something that would happen to Wells Fargo or Wal-Mart – someone with a lot of money.  But businesses of all sizes are getting hit now, including auto repair shops.  Ratchet and Wrench is running stories on it.  One body shop consultant said late last year he personally knew of more than a dozen body shops that had already been hit by ransomware. If one person knows that many, there are probably hundreds or even thousands more.

To keep your shop out of this situation, it’s important to ask some questions about emails you get before you click on any links or files in them.  Most of these attacks come through an email sent by hackers and criminals. They need you to click on something in the email they send before they can take over your computer or network. To stay safe all you have to do is not click on it.

How Do I Know an Email Is Dangerous?

While criminals are getting better at writing these bogus emails, they still leave some pretty big clues behind that they aren’t what they claim to be.  Here are three signs that an email may be dangerous. You shouldn’t click on anything inside of emails containing these three things until you can talk to the email sender (on the phone) and confirm that they actually sent it.

  • The message in the email looks nothing like what the sender normally sends. That’s probably a good sign that they aren’t actually sending it.  They’re being impersonated.
  • The email has an attachment or link that the sender says is really urgent. It’s even more suspect if they give you a deadline, like “you won’t be able to log in after tomorrow”.
  • You don’t know what the email is talking about. The email is talking about an invoice you weren’t expecting or a delayed package you don’t remember ordering or software you never use.

Basically, hackers are relying on your curiosity to get the best of you. They’re hoping you click on the link or attachment just to figure out what they’re talking about.  Don’t do it!  Your wallet will thank you for your self-control.

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