What is ransomware?
It seems a week doesn’t go by at the moment without mention of ransomware on the BBC News website – and for good reason, it’s very disruptive! Ransomware is a form of malware that works by either holding your entire computer hostage or by blocking access to all of your files by encrypting them.
If you’ve been reading the articles about ransomware, you’ll have no doubt come across the term cryptolocker. Now put very simply, what a cryptolocker does is encrypt all of the files on your computer that means all your files can no longer be accessed. Even if you have Chloe O’Brian from 24
The worrying thing is that most viruses can be removed, but once you’ve got cryptolocker on your system, you’ve got two choices, restore from a backup or pay the charge – but you should never pay the charge! “It’s like a hostage situation most of the time. We do not negotiate with terrorists, we do not give into threats. It’s kind of like the same thing with ransomware,” Liviu Arsene, a senior E-threat Analyst at the security company BitDefender, told Tech Insider.
Whilst we’re talking about backups, you’d better make sure your backups are off-site or separate away from your files in a passworded volume. Clever cryptolockers will go searching for drives on your computer, shared drives on the network, and just about anything it can get its hands on and encrypt away.
So what can you do to mitigate the risk?
- First of all, make sure you have up to date, effective Anti Virus installed on all of your computers, this will be your first line of defence.
- Keep Windows / OSX up to date with updates.
- Be very wary when opening files downloaded from the internet or email attachments.
- Keep off-site backups or backups on passworded volumes that aren’t permanently mounted on your computer.
- Have a desaster recovery plan written so if the worst happens, you’ve planned your next steps.
- Talk to a lovely friendly Wokingham based IT company who can discuss options with you