We have talked a lot about Ransomware in the past weeks, and the threat it poses. It has never been greater. Yesterday, security firm Sophos released a security report warning that cyber-criminals and their associated groups are working together to make mass production "Deployment Kits" for Ransomware, enabling them to more easily make their own versions of the popular malware, and to allow OPEN PURCHASE of these tools on the internet. Ransomware is a type of malware that systematically encrypts all user data on a computer’s hard drive. Once it has encrypted all of the user’s data, it deletes the unencrypted originals. Users are then prompted to transfer money – often around $350 – for the encryption key to unlock the data. Sophos states that in the last year, the problem has become incredibly widespread, and that the release of a kit could lead to an explosion of Ransomware worldwide.
What make Ransomware so incredibly problematic is that there is NO FIX FOR IT. Anti-Virus WILL NOT protect you. Nor can a local computer shop, our company, nor the collective powers of the U.S. Federal goverment, and all other nations combined. Ransomware uses completely unhackable encryption to lock up your computer, and lock all your files, and can also lock up EVERY COMPUTER ON YOUR NETWORK INCLUDING ANY CONNECTED EXTERNAL DRIVES. This is NOT sensationalism, it is real. Hundreds of companies, TV stations, and even a few POLICE STATIONS have had to pay big bucks to ransom their data.
DO NOT BE A VICTIM. We can help you prepare to prepare for these attacks.
Here are some tips to help:
- NEVER leave Your External Backup Drive hooked up to your computer when done. Backup, and when finished, Disconnect it.
- DO NOT open attachments in emails unless they are from close trusted family members or friends, and even then, do not open attachments EVER with the file extensions: .exe, .zip, .rar, .bat
- Regularly back up your files. Do both local OFFLINE backups and Online Backups through services like Carbonite. If you are unfamiliar with how to perform local backups of your data, see these great tools from Acronis, Genie 9, and Rebit 5. And if you prefer, Rethink Associates provides quality backup solutions as well. Let Us do it for you!
If you become infected with any of these viruses or any others:
- Immediately Disconnect all external drives from your system to prevent infection.
- Disconnect you computer from the Internet, as some of these spread to other computers on the network.
- Contact Rethink Associates so that we can help!
Rethink Associates is working to set up a class (or few) on how to insulate your home and business networks against Ransomware attacks, so you can safeguard your livelihood!