2017 has seen a continued rise in the cases of ransomware infecting computers and servers. Ransomware or cryptowall are viruses that encrypt all of the content on a user’s computer in addition to any connected server drives. The damage that ransomware can do to your systems or business intelligence is not a situation to take lightly. Make sure you fully understand ransomware and how it functions so that you can learn how to keep yourself and your businesses protected.
Where did ransomware start?
The earliest known ransomware was devised in the 1980s, by Joseph Popp. The program known as PC Cyborg claimed the license of a user’s computer program that had expired and then required the user to pay $189 to unlock their system. File names were encrypted using symmetric cryptography which experts had to analyze and fully understand before they were able to reverse the process and track down the attacker. This early form of ransomware has transformed through the years to become more complex and less obvious to a user. The payout of these infections totaled to $24 million over just three months back in 2013 and continues to skyrocket.
How does ransomware work?
Two different types of ransomware can impact a computer or system - blockers or encryptors. Blockers block the infected system and demand payment in return for restored access. Encryptors, encrypt (morph into code) any data that might be important to a user - files, photos, databases, etc. - without their knowledge. Ransomware differs by systems and has advanced enough to impact major operating systems such as Windows PC, iOS, Android, and Mac OS X. The ransomware is commonly distributed to users as spam. Another way users unknowingly get infections to their computer is by launching or downloading programs. Ransomware developers do their very best to disguise users from recognizing the programs - going so far as to include warning messages from law enforcement agencies.
How do I protect myself and my business from ransomware?
Ransomware can seriously damage your organization and force you to lose valuable data and information. To protect yourself and your business, there are many steps you must take today.
- Keep all software up-to-date to help protect against every changing and evolving ransomware.
- Only download or launch programs from sources that you know are legitimate and safe.
- Block or limit access to certain files and programs that should only be accessed by specific individuals in your organization.
Most Ransomware is spread through email attachments, often with tricky names like “here’s your invoice” or “Scan from MFP copier attached”. Just because a document looks like a PDF doesn’t mean that it is one.
When all else fails, a reliable server backup appliance is the ultimate protection against losing your data. Using our backup recovery solutions you can quickly and easily recover from even the worst ransomware attacks.
Want to take more steps to ensure your business is protected against ransomware? Unsure of where your most vulnerable spots in your servers and systems are? Don’t leave your systems and valuable data protection up to chance. Contact NetManageIT today and have our experts review your current information and computer infrastructure to ensure you are protected.