The increased use of ransomware such as cryptolocker has been in the news a lot recently, with people using Windows operating systems being targeted by a Trojan that encrypts a number of vital files on their machines. Once encrypted, a request is made for a ransom to be paid using bitcoins, with the very real threat of data loss being made if no ransom is forthcoming.
Unfortunately it seems the developers of the ransomware are being very successful, with a lot of users having to relent and pay the ransom, with the amount being demanded not being overly out of reach of most users, especially when compared to the cost of losing their valuable data. Sadly it seems that even when payment has been made that on occasion the security key that is required to decrypt the files is never forthcoming. A lose-lose situation and always a risk when dealing with a criminal element.
More often that not the Trojans need users to have administration privileges in order to encrypt files, which has largely left corporate IT environments such as the ones that we manage on our client’s behalf less prone to the threat. That being said, we remain vigilant, ensuring that all files are backed up regularly, with three copies of all data kept on two different media types, one of which is located away from the main site. We also make sure that the backups are tested on a regular basis, so should someone be affected, we are confident that we can make a restoration from good data without too much fuss and without a ransom having to be paid.
Given the threat, if you are not part of a managed domain, we encourage you to run two different user profiles on each machine as standard, one with administrator privileges that is only used when specifically needed and a second one without administrator privileges for day to day activities. We also encourage you to use of a diverse range of backups, such as backups to a offsite cloud repository as well offline media. That gives you more of a chance that you will have an uncorrupted set of data to call upon should you be targeted.
With the ‘Internet of Things’ becoming more and more of a reality, the sort of attacks that we are seeing using ransomware are going to be on the rise. It therefore pays to do all that you can to be ready, with a well thought out and tested plan in place should you be the next target of a ransomware attack.
With an increased number of threats out there, you may feel that the time is right to explore your managed IT options further. We would be happy to take the headache of managing your IT services from you, allowing you to focus fully on running your business. Please call us on 0333 123 0360 or contact us online to discuss your options further.