An evolved form of the standard computer virus, ransomware is a malware that first came into widespread use around 2012. Since that time, this particular cybercrime has continued to grow and spread.
In the first half of 2018, there were 18.5 million ransomware attacks, which was a 229% increase over the first half of 2017. Businesses and government organizations of all sizes are finding themselves the unexpected victims of ransomware attacks.
What is ransomware and how can you best defend against it?
It’s not through a sophisticated or complex method of cybersecurity, it’s in fact by doing something that any computer user should be doing regularly… backing up their system.
Through our popular managed IT security services Connect2Geek helps companies in the Treasure Valley area protect against malicious threats like ransomware. We take a multi-layered approach to IT security that covers all bases, and backup is one of the most important layers.
How Does Ransomware Work?
Ransomware is a form of malware typically delivered in the same way as other types, through malicious links or attachments sent via phishing emails, or delivered over pop-up ads or through social phishing, which is increasing in use.
Ransomware will generally cause one of two things to occur:
- Your system to lock you and your users out, so you can’t get to your files
- Your data to be encrypted so you can’t read it
The attacker then sends a message to the victim demanding a ransom be paid in order to regain access to all your files, and in some cases they may threaten to release emails or other sensitive information publicly unless you pay them.
A common request is to pay the ransom in bitcoin or other crypto currency which can be paid online through a process that easily hides the attacker’s identity.
By the of 2019, a business will get hit with a ransomware attack every 14 seconds.
The amount of the ransom requested can vary widely, and smaller businesses are at much of a risk of being targeted as larger organizations. One attack in 2015 that had 163 victims included ransom demands between $150 to $1,000. Others that hit bigger companies had ransoms attached as large at $50,000.
Many organizations pay the ransoms (hoping that the criminal will actually do what they say and remove the encryption) because they don’t have a backup copy of all their data and no other way to get it back.
Why Backup & Data Recovery is Vital to Protecting Against Ransomware
A ransomware attacker is counting on the fact that many businesses don’t have a way to recover their data, thus once it’s encrypted, they’ll pay the ransom to get it back. And most of the time these cybercriminals will keep the ransoms within reach financially so the company will be more likely to just pay it quickly so they can regain access to their files and get back to business.
The one thing that stops this type of attack in its tracks is having a backup of all your files using a platform with a data recovery component that can restore your backup quickly and completely.
If you’re hit with a ransomware attack and you’ve got a backup of all your files, then you only need to have an IT pro come into remove the ransomware code, then you can restore files without having to pay any ransom.
How to Back Up Properly Using the 3-2-1 Backup Rule
If you’re just copying files onto a local drive, you could leave yourself at risk should anything happen to that device. A best practice for backups is to use the 3-2-1 backup rule.
3 – Keep Three Copies of Your Data
This rule safeguards you from having a single point of failure when it come to file loss or ransomware attacks. By having three copies of your data, one on your computer hard drive and two additional copies, ensures that if one or even two of those copies get corrupted or lost, you still have an additional copy of your files that you can restore if needed.
2 – Keep Two Copies of Your Data on Different Media
For at least two of your backup copies, keep them on different storage media, such as one on a local removable hard drive and one on a cloud backup. This is an additional safeguard that protects your data from being lost by utilizing different technologies for storage.
1 – Keep at Least One Copy of Your Data Offsite
If all three copies of your data are located onsite, then you could lose them all if your office is subject to a flood, fire, or natural disaster. Cloud storage is an excellent way to keep at least one copy of your files offsite and many of them are designed for easy file recovery to any internet connected device.
Put a Ransomware Prevention Plan into Action
Connect2Geek can help your Nampa, Idaho area business with a solid backup and recovery strategy so you’re protected against ransomware as well as other types of data loss.
Give us a call today to ensure your network and devices are secure at 208-468-4323 or reach us online.