Over the past six months, there has been an increase in hacking and ransomware attacks.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a form of malicious software designed to either block access to a computer system or publishes a victim’s data online. The attacker demands a ransom from the victim, promising – not always truthfully – to restore access to the data upon payment.
Around since the 1980s, the last decade has seen various ransomware Trojans crop up, but the real opportunity for attackers has ramped up since the introduction of Bitcoin. This cryptocurrency allows attackers to easily collect money from their victims without going through traditional channels.
To ensure you stay protected, read these top tips.
Ensure your Operating System (OS) is up to date
Keeping your OS up-to-date ensures that hackers can’t access your system through vulnerabilities that may occur due to outdated software.
Download up-to-date security programmes
Ensuring your computer has the latest anti-malware software will protect you against potential threats. There are lots of the market, so if your computer doesn’t come packaged with it, make sure you scout the market for a good version. To help you out, here is a guide to the top 10 best free anti-malware software on the market this year.
Make sure all your devices have password protection
Having a password on your device is the easiest way of protecting it. It may sound like a simple tip but it’s surprising how many people don’t have them set up!
Create difficult passwords
When you are setting up passwords on your devices make sure they are complex and don’t use the same one for multiple devices. If you struggle to remember your passwords, use a password manager. The option of setting up two-step authentication is also an option.
Beware of phishing emails
Yes, these are still a thing! Long gone are the days when a Princess needs saving from a foreign country; hackers have got much smarter than that! If you receive an email you are unsure about, check the email address is really from the person its claimed to be from e.g. if it says it’s from Apple and the email address is XXX@789.com it obviously isn’t!
Ensure you have an up to date backup
Protecting yourself also means having a backup of your data. This means that if you are hit by any form of malware you will be able to rebuild your system quickly and hassle-free. Make sure that your backup system is not connected to your network (or only is for the time when it’s needed), this will stop any chance of your backup being affected by malware as well.
If you’re a business, consider using Tape as a backup system
Tapes provide the most security for your data in terms of storage. Once your backup onto a Tape, the Tape is removed and no longer connected to the network ensuring that it can never be affected by a malware attack.
Below are some recent malware attacks we have seen:
Ransomware attack tries to seize a company
We received a case where a company’s production servers were hit by a ransomware attack. Not only were all the active production servers hit but also the attached backup file server that consisted of a Synology NAS with six, 8TB drives. Even though we were able to recover some important files from the backup device, one 10TB drive had been overwritten with a zero pattern meaning it was unrecoverable.
Sabotage of a German firm by Ransomware
Sophisticated ransomware struck a company in Germany and was able to spread throughout its network, encrypting the server and formatting more than ten backup disks. Each of the disks was 8TB in size and combined in a RAID 5. To make matters worse, the customer didn’t have a recent or working backup in place. The company had the choice of using Ontrack to get the data back (which would have taken several weeks) or paying the Ransomware demand (something we would never recommend). Due to the company needing the data back to continue its business, it decided to pay the demand.
If you find yourself under attack by malware, contact us to see how we can help you.
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Michael Nuncic is Marketing Communications Manager at the German Ontrack Data Recovery office in Böblingen for more than 5 years. Highly experienced in computer, network and software topics, he is a professional editor for blog and technical articles for almost 20 years now.