Not too long ago, the CryptoLocker ransomware virus was all over the news, infecting over 250,000 computers in its first 100 days of release (at least that’s the number reported – the real numbers are probably MUCH higher). The threat was fairly straightforward: Pay us or we’ll delete all your data.
Ransomware, like the CryptoLocker attack, works by encrypting your files to prevent you from using or accessing them. After your files are compromised, the hackers behind the attack then pop up a demanding screen asking for payment ($400 to $2,000) within a set time frame (e.g., 72 hours or three days) in order to get the key to decrypt your files. The last CryptoLocker virus forced many business owners to lose data or pay up since there was no other way to decrypt the files. Ransomware comes in different shapes and forms – one of the newer variants, Jigsaw ransomware, does not just encrypt your data but destroys it incrementally when you do not cooperate.
Ransomware is old news BUT!!! what makes it worthy of being in the news – it keeps evolving, and reappearing, stronger and meaner with each version – and that is why it should be on top of everyone’s priority list when thinking cybersecurity.
We published several articles about different rounds of this scareware in the past:
- “Beware of Cryptolocker Trojan Ransomware” (CryptoLocker, detected by Sophos as Troj/Ransom-ACP, a malicious program known as ransomware, is making rounds hitting computers via email attachments or via botnets.)
- Crypto Ransomware Family grows: what you need to know about CryptoWall trojan (CryptoWall is the new and improved version of ransomware such as CryptoBit, Cryptolocker, and CryptoDefense.)
- Linux.Encoder.1 – A New Linux Ransomware (Discovered that targets Linux servers. Researchers have found that the virus only encrypts files that are related to Web hosting, Web servers, MySQL, Subversion, Git, and other software packages used in Web development and Web servers.)
- Ransomware – fake FBI Moneypak SOPA virus malware (What makes this ransomware virus so extra-evil is that it poses under the cape of good, riding on the pretense of legitimate names such as FBI and SOPA.)
- Beware of Bogus Scareware Computer Viruses More than $163 million awarded against defendants in the FTC case against “scareware” operation.
- Growing Cybercrime Trends Every Business Should Be Aware of (Crime-As-a-Service model of cybercrime is blooming. With the new complexities of criminal activities in the computer world, not everyone is aware of different trends in cybercrime to look out for. It is especially important to consider when it comes to protecting business data and business computer network security.)
How to beat a ransomware attack
Obviously, the best way to foil a ransomware attack is to be incredibly diligent about IT security; but with hundreds of thousands of new attacks being created daily, there are no guarantees that you won’t get infected.
Therefore, to keep your computer network secure and protected it’s critical to:
- maintain a full, daily backup of your data OFF-SITE so that IF you do get hit with ransomware, you can recover all your files quickly; most of the time backup is the only way you can recover your data without giving into a ransom demand;
- remember to back up off-site PCs, laptops, remote offices, and third-party software data stored in cloud apps;
- implement a good anti-virus system in place (may we recommend ESET), and keep it up-to-date, making sure it does not expire and leave you unprotected (remember update virus definitions on time, making sure it protects you from the latest threats!); while most antivirus programs under most conditions may not protect you from ransomware, just due to the different nature of this type of a virus, it is a great overall systems hygiene approach;
- educate your employees about the dangers of ransomware, and have proper cybersecurity protocols in place;
- maintain an overall secure, efficient computer network
Consider Network Security Services
A well-planned, properly set up and successfully secured computer network is a top priority for a successful, resilient business that values its operations and protects vital business data.
Professional Network Security services added stability and security to your business information, including data files, email, and more. With clear network security policies in place, as part of our Intelligent Business Continuity plan, and through network security, you get the ability to run your business as soon as possible even if a disaster or other incidents occur.
We can help you make sure your workflow and your sensitive data are protected, and your business network is safe and secure. Do you have a budget for network security? Don’t know where to start? Let’s start a conversation.
Our local Managed Services IT experts can also provide your business with remote support and on-site visits. Call us today at (201) 493-1414.