Plain English cybersecurity advice in 3 articles, 2 statistics and 1 action.

This week: BYOD may become Bring Your Own Disaster, fast vs slow when it comes to cloud adoption, and how paying the ransom is no longer guaranteed to get your data back.

This week’s action: Ignore those voicemail email notifications


  1. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) may become Bring Your Own Disaster
    There are increasing concerns about staff returning to the office with virus-laden devices that have not been managed or scanned for over a year. Personally, I know someone who works for an Irish insurance company who has been told they will need to bring their laptop back into the office three days before they return themselves, just so the IT security team can scan it and confirm it is clean!
    Read more:
  1. Cloud is more secure than on-premise, but only if you slow down and take the time to get it right.
    “[Adoption of the cloud is] accelerating because the cloud just allows businesses to go so much faster and solve so many issues. [..] if we’re driving everything to the cloud, we need to make sure that the security controls are going with the data into the cloud, not coming two years later”. There’s nothing earth-shattering in this interview with Imperva, but it’s still no harm to be reminded of the core recommendation: “Slow and right” is better than “fast and wrong”.
    Read more:
  1. Watch out for those ‘phishy’ voicemail notification emails
    If you use Skype or Teams for telephone services, you may be familiar with the emails these systems send out when someone leaves you a voicemail. These genuine emails from Microsoft do not contain branding or any other obvious indicators of their veracity. The design chosen for these emails is so bad, it doesn’t surprise me that cyber attackers frequently send phishing emails that look like these voicemail notifications. Yes, staff should be trained on a regular basis so they watch out for phishing emails. But when the genuine emails look ‘phishy’, we can’t blame a staff member for being fooled. A recent report describes one such attack, involving 2500 emails sent over a 3 months period. The emails were designed to fool senior staff into revealing their login details to cyber criminals.
    Read more: with original research at


  1. 37%: The percentage of firms that have suffered a ransomware attack in 2020, according to Sophos. This is down from 54% in 2017, but still over 1-in-3 firms. [Pinch of salt: The survey was performed by Sophos, a (well-respected) company that sells cybersecurity systems. ]
  2. 92%: 92% of ransomware victims lost at least some data, and more than 50% of them lost at least a third of their precious files, despite paying the ransom.

ONE ACTION – If you do only one ‘cybersecurity’ thing this week, do this.

  1. Ignore the voicemail notification emails: As I mentioned in one of the articles above, if you use Microsoft Skype and Teams for telephone services, you may frequently receive email notifications about missed calls and voicemails. Phishing emails frequently mimic their design and it is very hard to differentiate a genuine email from a phishing email. I recommend you block these emails from reaching staff (if you have the email security tech to do it) and I highly recommend you tell staff to delete these emails as soon as they are received. The notifications and messages can be retrieved directly in Skype / Teams anyway.