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15
Mar
2024
Shermie the Sherminator – Attacking IT Problems in Real-Time!

Shermie the Sherminator – Attacking IT Problems in Real-Time!

If you are like me, chances are computers and other digital devices like smartphones and tablets are an essential part of our everyday life. We use computers for a variety of business and personal tasks, from communicating with colleagues via MS Teams to sending emails, crafting blog articles in MS Word, and ordering takeout or delivery from our favorite local restaurants online. Not surprisingly, 94.6 percent of all U.S. households currently own computers¹, while 95 percent of small businesses nationwide use them in their daily operations². However, we must always be careful, as hackers and other malicious actors lurk across cyberspace, lying in wait to steal your sensitive business or personal information. Now, you may ask yourself, “How can I ensure my computing experiences are safe and predictably awesome?”

Fortunately, we at navitend are here to help. In our newest blog article series, our mascot Shermie the Sheep will explore some best practices you can follow for predictably awesome IT experiences every day. Here, Shermie will discuss helpful hints for safe computing anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

Shermie: Hi, everyone. My name is Shermie. I am the mascot and Predictably Awesome IT Ambassador for navitend. Today, we will learn about best practices you can follow to make your computing experience as safe and predictably awesome as possible.

PA Announcer: Welcome to Newark Liberty International Airport. The next flight departing from Gate B47 will be Sunchaser Airlines’ 8:54 AM flight to Tampa.

Shermie: What have we here? An unattended laptop? Holy malware, Bat-Cat, this looks like a major security issue. No, wait a minute, this is a major security issue. This looks like a job for the one, the only, the predictably awesome Sherminator!

I.M. Clumsy: Ah, there is nothing like a little coffee and a breakfast sandwich for that morning energy boost. Now I can sit back, eat my sandwich, drink my coffee, and check those work emails before my flight to Las Vegas. I cannot miss the National Hospitality Tech Expo tomorrow, you know!

Shermie: Pardon me, friend, but did you leave your laptop out in the open when you went to buy that cup of coffee?

I.M. Clumsy: Yes. Yes, I did. I am so sorry about that.

Shermie: Well, saying you are sorry does not cut it. Leaving your laptop unattended is a bad move³. From now on, sir, you should always keep your work laptop and other devices – including smartphones and tablets – with you while traveling, even if you leave the boarding area to order coffee and a breakfast sandwich³.

I.M. Clumsy: Thank you so much for your advice. I will never leave my work laptop unattended while traveling again. I do have one question, though: who are you?

Shermie: I am the Sherminator, your cybersecurity superhero!

I.M. Clumsy: You look like a sheep in a superhero outfit.

Shermie: Yes. I am a sheep in a superhero outfit, but my job is to make sure folks like you can enjoy predictably awesome computing experiences every day, anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

I.M. Clumsy: Wow! That is awesome! Could you please explain why I should not leave my laptop unattended?

Shermie: Well, if you leave your laptop unattended – as you did when you left to grab your breakfast – someone can steal it and access your email, your work files, and even your company’s sensitive information like trade secrets or confidential financial data³. Even worse, a hacker or other malicious actor could have stolen your laptop and installed harmful malware, ransomware, or spyware on it³. If your laptop fell into malicious hands, it would surely be a disaster for your company. Now, my friend, do you know how much it would cost your business if the data on your laptop was breached?

Please do not let this happen to you!

(Image courtesy of https://securitytoday.com/articles/2017/09/08/what-happens-when-your-employees-equipment-is-left-unattended.aspx)

I.M. Clumsy: Let me guess. Four million dollars?

Shermie: Not quite.

I.M. Clumsy: Four and a half million dollars?

Shermie: Close enough. The average data breach resulting from lost or stolen devices – such as your laptop if I had not found it and given it back to you – costs $4.46 million, according to IBM⁴.

I.M. Clumsy: Wow, that makes me glad you found my laptop before any hackers could steal it. Thank you so much, Mr. Sherminator.

Shermie: You’re welcome. I am always glad to lend a helping hand, or in my case, a helping hoof. Anyway, what do we have in your suitcase? CD-ROMs? Flash drives? I wonder what is on this flash drive.

I.M. Clumsy: Please do not touch that flash drive! My only copy of the PowerPoint I am presenting at the National Hospitality Tech Expo in Las Vegas is on there.

Shermie: I am sorry, sir. I just wanted to explain that you should never keep your company’s sensitive information on flash drives or other portable devices, like your tablet, your phone, or even your laptop itself, without securing them first³. Also, since you said that one flash drive includes the only copy of your upcoming trade show presentation, I must warn you that if you have only one copy of a critical file or project like that presentation, do not store that on a portable device, either³.

I.M. Clumsy: Why not?

Shermie: Well, if you keep your business’s trade secrets, financial information, or important projects like your trade show presentation on CD-ROMs and flash drives like the ones in your luggage, you can easily lose these items if you do not keep track of them³. This opens doors for cybercriminals to steal your data, files, and projects and then use them in their malicious schemes³.

I.M. Clumsy: Again, thank you very much, Mr. Sherminator! You were a tremendous help to me this morning.

Shermie: You’re welcome, but I am not done here yet.

I.M. Clumsy: Why not?

Shermie: I still need to tell you one more thing. When you return to the office after your business trip, you must lock your screen and set a password to protect your computer, along with all the data, files, and software applications you use every day³. Meanwhile, if you need to leave your computer in your office because you have a meeting across the hall or you must go to the break room for lunch, please lock the door behind you so nobody can steal it while you are away.

I.M. Clumsy: Once again, thank you for all your helpful advice! I learned some important lessons today.

Shermie: You’re welcome, my friend. I hope you have a safe and predictably awesome business trip!

I.M. Clumsy: You, too, Mr. Sherminator.

PA Announcer: Sunchaser Airlines passengers on Flight 1230, the 8:54 AM departure to Tampa, will begin boarding in approximately 15 minutes.

Shermie: Well, it is time for this digital-savvy sheep to fly. Just follow the security tips I mentioned, and I guarantee you will enjoy safe and predictably awesome computing experiences, no matter whether you are working from home, in the office, or on the road.

Navitend can help you. Call 973.448.0070 or setup an appointment today.

Sources:

¹IBISWorld. “Percentage of Households With At Least One Computer – United States | IBISWorld.” Retrieved from https://www.ibisworld.com/us/bed/percentage-of-households-with-at-least-one-computer/4068/.

²U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Empowering Small Business: The Impact of Technology on U.S. Small Business (Second Edition).” Retrieved from https://www.uschamber.com/small-business/smallbusinesstech.

³California State University San Marcos. “Safe Computing Practices | Instructional and Information Technology Services (IITS) | CSUSM.” Retrieved from https://www.csusm.edu/iits/services/security/security-guidance/safe-computing.html.

⁴IBM Security. “Cost of a Data Breach Report 2023.” Retrieved from https://www.ibm.com/downloads/cas/E3G5JMBP.

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