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Ransomware: Prevention is Good, Protection is Better, Backup is Best

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 19:09
Data Backup

Most companies and individuals will experience a malware attack at some point in time. One of the worst kinds of malware that you can be infected with is Ransomware.

Ransomware attacks are increasing rapidly. Moreover, cybercriminals are even offering “ransomware-as-a-service” (RaaS), creating little ransomware cartels. The offering is the code for 20% of the ransomware earnings.

What is Ransomware Exactly?

Ransomware is a malicious software virus that infects your computer, your network and your data. Your computer will either be locked or your data encrypted, held hostage, and the only way you can regain access is by paying a “ransom”.

How Does Ransomware Infect Your Computer?

There are 4 most common ways that ransomware can gain access to your computer:

  1. Spam emails. Opening suspicious looking emails and attachments are a sure way to invite malware into your system. Be vigilant. Scammers take advantage of our good-nature, just ask the Nigerian Prince.
  2. Infected removable drives. Don’t plug just anything into your PC, you don’t know where it’s been. Follow the necessary safety precautions.
  3. Bundled with other software. Malware can hide in software applications that are downloaded and installed onto your PC. Be sure whatever you download and install is legitimate and from the correct source.
  4. Compromised webpages. Rogue code can be embedded into a webpage making every visitor vulnerable to the ransom Trojan. A good anti-virus, firewall and threat protection software will notify you if the website you are visiting is compromised.

Types of Ransomware

There are two main types of ransomware: Locker Ransomware and Crypto Ransomware. Locker ransomware typically locks access to the computer interface, only allowing the user to interact with the ransom demand. It generally doesn’t attack the underlying system or data, only denies access to it.

Crypto ransomware is the more malicious one of the two and is designed to encrypt all valuable data stored on the computer or network. It moves fast, it stays undetected until ransom demands are made and it is a bigger threat to data security.

Prevention is Good, Protection is Better, Backup is Best

Once your data has been encrypted, there is very little that can be done unless you are willing to pay the ransom, and even if you pay there is no guarantee that you will get your data back.

If you think that investing only in anti-virus software will keep your data safe from a ransomware attack, you are sorely mistaken. A multi-faceted IT security policy, which includes a disaster recovery plan, will definitely contribute to the safety of your data.

The FBI’s tips for a business continuity that helps combat the effects of ransomware is to make regular backups of data, verify the integrity of backups frequently and mirror backups to a secure server.

A reliable backup software provider will be the difference between the life and death of your valuable data. It’s never too late to start backing up, but we recommend you do it before receiving a data ransom note.

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