The Latest Threat to Your Business

Don’t Let Your PC be Victimized

Ransomware is the newest threat to your business. Ransomware is malicious software that locks your computer or encrypts your files, making your data inaccessible.  Ransomware will not only encrypt files on your computer but also on any drives that are mapped on your computer. The name is derived from the fact that ransom is demanded to regain access to your data or to get your files unencrypted.

The ransom is usually less than $500.  Since it is very labor intensive to run software to break the code the ransom might seem like a cheap fix to a problem that could cripple your business. A common ploy is to use a government logo, such as the FBI logo, claiming you did something illegal with your computer.  The ransom is labeled as a fine for this “illegal” activity.  Often the payment is demanded through Bitcoins (a form of digital currency that involves no central authority making tracking difficult) or another form of electronic payment.
The ransom should never be paid. There have been cases where people have paid and the encryption keys have failed and their data was not recovered. Also, paying the ransom perpetuates the problem. Many legal departments are adamant that the ransom is never paid, even if the data is lost.
There are numerous ways Ransomware can end up on your computer:
  1. Downloaded by visiting compromised website
  2. Payload, dropped or downloaded by other malware
  3. Clicking attachments to spammed emails
  4. The infection can also come from clicking on ads in the sidebar of a web page
The following are a few steps to help prevent being victimized by Ransomware:
  1. Use data protection and email security
  2. Utilize a cloud backup that will allow you to restore your data once the PC or Server is wiped clean (test this back-up regularly to make sure you can fully recover)
  3. Be aware of fraudulent emails
  4. Do not open suspicious emails or click the attachments in unexpected emails
  5. Make sure the software and the operating system on your PC is up-to-date
  6. Report anything strange to IT immediately (and IT should not discount any reports)
  7. Prevent ad content from being viewed by installing a content filter on the firewall to block users from clicking on ads
 If you are victimized by this latest scam the following are essential steps:
  1. Disconnect the infected computer from Wi-Fi or wired network immediately
  2. Contact your IT support person
  3. “Wipe” the infected computer
  4. Restore the data from your backup
Below is an image of what an infected machine could display on its screen:
ransomware 1.png

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