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Our New Reality?

It’s troubling that we live in a world where words like “ransomware” exist. Troubling … but not surprising.

Your data is everything. When we say that many of you might think about your accounting, CRM or HR data. All very important, but often we’re more connected with the data that drives your daily to-do list. The files you use in your job every day. Imagine suddenly losing access to that important sales proposal due tomorrow. Or that complicated spreadsheet with rows and columns filled with numbers, formulas, rules, etc. Or the client presentation you’ve been working on for weeks. Now imagine this happening across all your files (and your co-workers files) and imagine having to pay to get it back.

Enter “ransomware”.

If you’re not familiar with the latest ransomware to hit the world – Cryptolocker – you should be. This malware encrypts all of a victim’s personal files – and potentially backup files too – cutting off access to the files. The bad guys, a criminal gang behind Cryptolocker, have the only decryption key and they demand Bitcoins (an open source peer-to-peer currency) to get it. Pay within their timeline or they delete the key.

We love movies, and this sounds like a great one. Too bad it is our reality.

Many experts out there recommend not paying the ransom, but don’t offer too many suggestions on how to get your data back. That’s a hard pill to swallow if you’re a victim. We know of companies who have paid the ransom, and others who have managed to restore from an unaffected data backup. It’s going to depend on your particular situation.

That said, assuming you haven’t been affected, here’s a reminder of trusted guidelines to protect your data:

  • Don’t open email attachments from an unknown sender. Ever. We can’t emphasize this enough.
  • Have up-to-date security software. Make sure your client and network security files are as recent as possible.
  • Back-up your files religiously. Make sure you have a back-up plan that includes a scheduled and offsite data storage.

Here’s a new twist on these guidelines: because CryptoLocker can compromise files already backed-up, you need to reassess how you do your backups. Some backup methods handle this stuff better than others and each may have an amount of acceptable productivity loss you need to be comfortable with.

Many have asked Triware for advice on how to prevent CryptoLocker attacks. Anyone availing of our managed Envision IT support service can feel assured we are consistently working with our industry partners, to keep ahead of these threats, and make sure you’re as safe as possible. Others who have questions should connect with us to make sure you’re protected. At minimum, you should review guidelines listed above and ask the important questions about your data security … am I protected as best as possible and what would happen if I were attacked.