Ransomware - The Rising Threat

In the past year, crypto/ransomware attacks have increased 550%.

Imagine opening your computer to find that every one of your files is now encrypted and you don’t have the password. Folder after folder you look and in each one, next to the hundreds of locked files which contain your precious data, is a note explaining that your data is being held for “ransom” and to get the password to unlock your data you must send money to the criminal who locked your computer. What do you do next?

You call Steel Town Tech. We have dealt with ransomware, also called the crypto virus, for several years and can navigate the often complex process of cleaning and restoring your data. We have successfully restored business in the midst of this very real crisis.

But, it’s better to be prepared for the attack than it is to clean up afterwards. So, here are some important steps to help you be certain you are prepared.

1. Have an backup. I’ll say it again, Be absolutely certain you have a current, working and tested backup. We always deploy a double backup system: a local hard drive for quick restores and a replication of that data off-site for more serious recoveries. Companies whose data are taken for ransom have to have a good backup or they will probably end up having to pay.
2. Don’t open email attachments or download programs from unexpected sources. The latest in a string of attacks sends you an invoice. When you open the invoice, it tells you that the MS Office program you are trying to use needs a plugin in order to open the document and prompts you to download and run a program. Don’t do it!
3. Make sure your IT company is prepared for such a threat. Do they have experience with combing through thousands of files on a server and restoring all of the ones which have been encrypted without touching the ones which are clean? Have they actually tested both the local and cloud backups to make sure they can be successfully restored? Do they monitor your systems for strange activity and actively block malicious software from installing in the first place. Ask. It’s better to know than to assume.

In the past year, crypto/ransomware attacks have increased 5.5 times according to Kaspersky Labs. And, they are becoming more and more varied. 718,000 successful attacks in the last year is a serious threat. This is one case of malware which is so obvious your call for help won’t start with “I think I might have a virus.” You’ll know, and hopefully you’ll be prepared.

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