Ransomware and lessons learned

lock“Ransomware” is the latest type of virus or malware to hit computers on a massive scale. What’s most frightening about this type of attack is that many variations are nearly impossible to remove. Ransomware takes over your files on your computer by encrypting the data on your hard drive, leaving your files inaccessible. The only way to decript the files to regain access is by way of a decryption key. Since the type of encryption used in most of these attacks is very strong, it’s impossible to decrypt with “brute force” techniques. With your files locked up, the cybercriminals hold your files for ransom, demanding funds (in untraceable Bitcoin currency) in exchange for the decryption key.

Seems pretty hopeless right? Either pay up, or lose all of your files seem to be your only options. Not necessarily. Once you are infected with one of these types of ransomware (i.e. CryptoLocker, CryptoDefense, etc.), it’s pretty tough if not impossible to retrieve your data without paying the ransom as each incarnation of these attacks seem to be much stronger than the previous and with less flaws. Therefore your best bet is to take measures to PREVENT and PREPARE for these attacks.

You can prevent such attacks by using some basic security best practices. Making sure you have adequate anti-virus and anti-malware software running and up-to-date, and not opening attachments in emails without being 100% certain it is what you are expecting are just some of the basics. There are also some more techie ways to harden up your systems security to prevent some of these attacks from running.

Preparation for a ransomware-type of attack mainly concerns your backup planning. Do you have a good backup solution in place for your company? Are backups being checked regularly for accuracy and issues? Simply plugging in a drive and walking away is a huge risk you can’t afford, as once you get infected with a crypto virus, one of your only options will be to restore from the last good backup. If that backup isn’t good, you might as well start investing in some bitcoin or risk losing your important files for good. Just read this article from an IT provider who experienced the trials and tribulations from a CryptoDefense virus on a client’s network just to get a glimpse of the potential disasters this can cause.

If you’d like to speak with a One2One representative about backup planning and solutions we can design for your company, please contact us at 717-393-7403, option 2, or e-mail us at sales@one2oneinc.com.