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RansomWare Prevention – Reducing the risks

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If you regularly use a computer and browse the internet, the chances are you have experienced a malware or virus infection at some point. Maybe more than once. You either fixed it yourself, it was fixed by a friend / family member or you called a computer company who fixed it for you.

Now think of that as “The good old days”!

There is a new type of ransomware emerging which, once infected, encrypts all of your data. Your music, videos, pictures, documents, spreadsheets, all of it! You are then literally, held to ransom, in order to get the key which unlocks the encrypted files.

The ransomware uses the highest known level of encryption, 2048bit. I tried to calculate how many possible combinations that could be, the formula being 2048 multiplied by 2048, 2048 times, but Excel crapped out when it got to 93. At that point the number recorded was 8.9885E+307, that’s 89885 with 307 zeros at the end. Basically you have more chance of going into space than you do of decrypting your files without paying large sums of money.

RansomWare prevention, what should you do?

The only way to be 100% protected is REGULAR BACKUPS OF YOUR DATA, and to hold more than one copy. It’s that simple.

You should use external storage devices that are dedicated to holding a backup copy of your data. Never use one to quickly copy anything, from anywhere, to anywhere. Find another way.

If you only produce enough data to warrant backing up on a monthly basis then you can get away with two devices. Rotate them on a monthly basis. If you are thinking “I don’t even produce that” then OK, but if you do it once a month, every month, you are more likely to get into the habit.

If you produce more data, or your data changes frequently, then you will need to spend a little more depending on how much you value your data. To backup on a weekly basis you should have at least 5 drives. 3 of them are used as weekly drives with the other 2 being rotated on a monthly basis.

What else can you do?

Install a decent anti-virus program. Some are better than others, none are 100% effective and you only ever get what you pay / don’t pay for! Think of anti-virus software in the same way as they market antibacterial hand products. Kills 99.9% of known germs.

Keeping your computer, operating system and software up to date is just as important as having good anti-virus software. A lot of people find this a chore at the best of times, so it often gets overlooked. The updates are being provided for a reason, more often than not, to fix bugs and security holes.

Install a web filter. A web filter, in its most basic form, should automatically protect you from accessing websites which are known to be infected with viruses / malware / ransomware.  Any decent filter will also give you controls over various content types, in the same way as parental controls can be applied to most broadband connections. The difference is, the web filter is tied to the computer and operates regardless of who’s internet connection it is using.

 

Don’t get caught out. Whoever you use for IT support, and it would be great if you used Phenom Networks, make sure you are covered against this emerging new threat.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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