Two weeks ago over 100 countries and thousands of computers were victimized by WannaCry, an aptly named ransomware, and a cruel reminder how important it is to protect computers, file servers, and other technology equipment.
Ransomware is a malicious software that first appeared around 2005, threatening to destroy people’s data if a ransom is not paid. It is just one type of “malware” (malicious software) that can devastate your business. It encrypts data and locks computers, keeping owners from accessing their computers. Ransomware is mostly transmitted via email or web pop-ups and locks the computers until the ransom is paid. The payment requested can vary from a hundred dollars to millions. The worldwide ransomware attack crippled business, hospitals, public services, airports, and transportation. It was the biggest the world has seen so far.
So what to do if your computer has been infected, and what steps can you take to protect yourself? The Scope Weekly spoke to Teryl Burt, author of I Don’t Speak Geek and co-founder with her sister Gloria and brother Herb Burt of Bay-area TSG Networks, an IT support company focusing on cloud computing.
If you are considering paying the ransom hoping that it will result in recovery of your data, don’t. Unfortunately, many who have paid never heard back from the hackers after complying with their demands. Burt said to The Scope Weekly,
“The first thing to do is unplug your computer from the internet so it does not infect other users on the network, and report the crime to law enforcement.Then promptly contact technology professionals who specialize in data recovery and data protection.”
Today there is no absolute way to control ransomware. Understanding how one gets it is a critical first step in minimizing occurrences. Employing Best Practice is the best protection. Here is Burt’s must do list to protect yourself.
Following Best Practices means investing in top-notch software designed to fight all types of malware. Equally important is educating all users on what it is and how one gets it and establishing/enforcing firm organization policies about email usage.
Updating all computers immediately as patches are released is also a Best Practice. Updates can be set to run automatically–middle of the night is good for businesses, so their staff is not interrupted during the workday.
Backing up data regularly is an absolute necessity. Backing up in “The Cloud” is even better since your data is often stored in multiple offsite locations so restores can be made quickly.
You may wonder if The Cloud is safe. We asked Burt.
“Remember that the root cause of ransomware infections is email and web pop-ups, and moving to The Cloud allows the business owner to eliminate purchasing, configuring and maintaining complex and expensive hardware and software with the most current and powerful malware protection on the market.”
If you would like to contact Teryl Burt to discuss how to specifically protect your business, visit TSG Networks.
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