Ransomware is a term you likely have heard a lot throughout 2016, and into 2017 as well. Its popularity continues to rise.
The reason ransomware has become so widespread is due to its devastating effects on businesses and consumers alike. Ransomware is a type of malware infection that prevents users from accessing files on their system by encrypting (locking) them unless a ransom is paid. The ransomware will infect unsuspecting users and make all of their files inaccessible unless a ransom is paid to the ransomware creator.
The worst case scenario is a business being infected by ransomware, as not only does it affect the user files on the computer that was infected, but it also spreads to the network, crippling the business entirely as all network shares and files become encrypted and inaccessible. Due to this fact, ransomware creators have been able to ask for higher and higher ransoms, sometimes in the thousands of dollars, generally accepted only via Bitcoin (BTC). Even if a user or business is willing to pay the high ransom amount, there’s no guarantee they will ever see their files again since they are dealing with criminals.
Ransomware can come in many shapes and sizes, however an email attachment in the form of a Microsoft Office document asking to enable macros is common, or a simple disguised executable file making its way via Internet downloads or email attachments, which can trick the user by using a different icon, such as a PDF, as shown below.
What can you do to protect yourself?
The first step is making sure you are protected by reputable anti-virus solution. At Computing Technologies, we offer protection by ESET at a fraction of retail pricing, which makes it easy to ensure your entire business is covered by an exceptional anti-virus product. If you are interested in receiving a quote for full anti-virus coverage for your business please contact us and we will get back to you within one business day.
You can also prevent this by using the SPAM protection services that we offer. We can cover your entire business for one low monthly price. This helps to filter out virus infections, including malware and ransomware and also has the benefit of keeping your users from ever seeing SPAM messages and needing to trash/mark them as junk. Increasing productivity while successfully helping to defend against ransomware infections.
The only way to safely get your files back after a ransomware infection is to recover from a backup of your files/folders. Another service we offer that has helped numerous customers out of a total loss due to ransomware is our cloud backup product. Without good backups there is now way to safely get back all of your files. We cannot stress the importance of proper backups enough!
The next step of defense is educating users who use the Internet and email on a daily basis. With busy days and deadlines to meet, sometimes users can open emails that they weren’t expecting and download and execute files that infect their systems. We can also assist with user education and training to make sure everyone is well informed on security procedures and how they should handle an email that they were not expecting or doesn’t look “quite right”.
If you have any questions or concerns about ransomware, or if you’re interested in learning about how Computing Technologies can assist you and your team prevent a ransomware infection, or recover from one that has already happened, be sure to contact us!