Ransomware. It’s a bizarre and almost humorous word for a threat borne out of the internet. And it seems to be becoming one of the most common place buzzwords in the industry.
Working in IT, you see an awful lot of buzzwords, in fact, the industry is built on them, and it’s often easy to overlook words like ‘cloud’ (a Server somewhere else), ‘IoT’ (Internet of Things, devices with an internet connection) and ‘ransomware’. At Resolve, we avoid words like this and prefer to talk in plain English.
However, it’s that last one that we’re particularly concerned with at the moment. Although ‘ransomware’ sounds slightly comical, the threat is pretty serious.
I don’t think I’d be going too far out on a limb when I make the assumption that most of you reading this article have – at some point – had your computer infected with a virus. Perhaps you were bombarded with adverts, maybe the computer would turn itself off, or possibly all of your contacts received fake emails from you offering discount watches?
Although all of the above are very frustrating and cause lost time, generally – at experts hands – they can be fixed promptly and life can continue without too much collateral damage.
But, ransomware changes the game quite dramatically. Once the malicious software makes it onto your computer, it proceeds to encrypt your files and folders very quickly with encryption that cannot be easily undone. Once this process is complete, you will receive a notification demanding a payment in the untraceable ‘internet currency’ bitcoin, upon which the hacker who sent the software will send you an unlock key.
This is pretty scary for a business if the company shared drives are part of their personal laptop setup, and before long, all data will be encrypted and it becomes a very tight spot. And ransomware saw a 165% rise in Q1 2015.
Ransomware comes in many different forms with the most prevalent being Cryptolocker. And it’s not just something you hear about in the tech world – we have pulled numerous organisations out of their bind with Cryptolocker, amongst other forms of ransomware.
So how can you make sure you’re protected? First and foremost, you need a data backup that keeps several copies of your data, offsite and encrypted. This is imperative. Multiple copies of your data ensure that even if everything is lost you have something to fall back on
Secondly, a good antivirus solution is a must, both at the entrances to your network (the Firewall) and on the individual devices.
We can advise you on your company IT security and security policies. We can also offer a ‘cloud’ (sorry!) backup solution which is tailored to protect you against such threats, as well as cutting edge, full antivirus solutions. Please get in touch so our experts can help you be proactive against ransomware, not reactive! Ransomware removal is a headache of the highest order, so if you can stop it before an attack, you'll be winning.