Ransomware is on the rise everywhere around the world. As warnings abound from security experts, we take a look at how ransomware works, but most of all why it (still) works and how come. After many years of technological advancements in the backup & disaster recovery industry, this threat is still very much real and produces damage measurable in dollars to people and their small businesses.
New developments in ransomware techniques and codes make data protection planning all the more important for IT professionals. They are well aware that having an offsite backup (or two) can potentially save your business’s life.
From simple desktop users to the health industry and educational institutions, it seems every other week we get news of another disaster. Most of these attacks are often not reported for reputation or further security concerns. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) noted that in 2016’s first quarter, more than 200 million dollars was paid in ransomware attacks. According to the FBI, there were more than 2,400 reported ransomware attacks in 2015 totaling more than $24 million, with ransoms paid during the first quarter of 2016 surpassing $200 million.
How Hackers Keep Getting Better
How does an individual or small business find themselves in the situation of having files encrypted due to a ransomware attack? Just being aware of security risks when using a shady website or clicking a suspicious link is not enough anymore. The bad guys are relying on the fact that users are vulnerable and don’t have knowledge of their techniques.
Unpatched Systems Are Exploited
McAfee warned in its June Threat Report that ransomware attacks have risen 24% this quarter. One fact to highlight is that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conduct a ransomware attack: “relatively unskilled cybercriminals can use exploit kits to deploy the malware,” shows the report. Patching up and installing updates for operating systems and applications (be it desktop or mobile) is paramount for data protection and ransomware prevention. Software which is no longer supported by its manufacturer is a huge risk, as hackers will exploit any vulnerabilities.
Why You Need An Offsite Backup
Cyberattacks can happen even if you haven’t clicked that weird link from the Nigerian prince in your spam folder, and even if you have a File History backup system turned on. This is why keeping an offsite backup is crucial for business continuity.
How do the bad guys get hold of your systems?
Ransomware viruses can infect legitimate websites and download themselves on user’s computers (in March, a Trend Micro report showed how big sites such as msn.com, nytimes.com, aol.com, realtor.com or newsweek.com were victims of attacks that attempted to download cryptolocker ransomware and malware on user’s computers). Some ransomware types will also encrypt or delete the backup versions of your Windows Files (so having a Windows Backup is simply not enough).
To add insult to injury, implementing strict IT policies for data security often doesn’t work as well for large organizations, who are constantly having to deal with new employees coming in (lack of training), or existing employees who are not particularly tech-savvy. Working out IT policies and getting everyone to respect them is a daunting task. The lack of enough staff with IT expertise is sometimes a challenge, especially in the public sector, and not all IT specialists understand the value of an offsite backup.
Computer Troubleshooters is here to help! For a small monthly fee we can look at your computers, security and backup for you. We set up systems, and most importantly, we monitor them to make sure they are working. Call us today and stop worrying about your computer! 203-702-2103 or click here to request info.