A few years ago one of the worst and most successful money-making schemes through computer malware was eliminated by an organized crackdown by authorities. Known as “Cryptolocker”, it encrypted your data and asked you through a pop-up to pay a ransom to get it back. It was effective – some estimates put the ransoms paid close to $30 million! Cryptolocker’s gone, but it’s “children” are still roaming the Internet. Known as “Ransomware” is quite possibly the worst computer malware around at the moment. Not only is it sneaky in how it gets onto your computer, it encrypts your data with no guarantee you’ll ever get it back. It then taunts you with a message saying “if you want your data back, pay a ransom”. Most times you’ll pay the ransom and never hear from the attacker. Now your money is gone, too.
Here’s how to minimize your chances of getting it!
- Antivirus: This is a big step in the right direction. Antivirus should be running on all computers, servers and firewalls.
- E-mail filtering. Adding an e-mail filter service to your e-mail provider is cheap insurance. About $3/mo per user if you go through SP.
- Training: Train employees to never click links or attachments in an e-mail unless it’s from a trusted source and (this is the most important part), the message content is expected. If someone you know sends you a link in e-mail that you didn’t know was coming, don’t open it. Their computer might be infected, sending e-mails without their knowledge.
- Visitors: Never use their USB sticks, don’t let them plug them into your computers, don’t let them use your company WiFi. Find another way to receive the files they have.
How do you know when you have it, and what to do if you get ransomware?
- Suddenly and without warning, most of the files you access on a regular basis won’t open. That’s the big clue.
- Call us.
- Don’t pay the ransom. Use your backups!
- Shut off the infected computer and unplug it from the network immediately.
- Inform employees to hold off on opening computer files.
Cryptolocker-like malware typically can’t be “cured” in typical ways where cleaning/disinfection would normally solve the issue. Due to the encryption, your file content is effectively gone. Having good antivirus, e-mail filtering and awareness are keys to keeping it out of your computers.
Silicon Plains can help you stay ransomware-free. E-mail or give us a call! 701-390-9876 or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.