Warning: Ransomware is on the rise

ransomware lock

Over the last few months, we’ve seen a rise in Ransomware. Ransomware (sometimes known as encryptionware), is a particular type of malware that will infect your computer and lock you out of your files until you pay a ransom. Ransomware is not a joking matter, and it can seriously hurt your business.

Let’s start with the basics:

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How does one get ransomware?

Many times it’s a fake email or attachment. Spam and spoof emails disguised as something you might know. Maybe an email from a parent or colleague saying “Hey check out my photos!” Do you want to see those pictures? Sure you do! So you blindly click on the link and are sent to download an attachment and install it to see the photos. Right there, they have you. You’ve installed their software on your computer!

What does Ransomware do?

Ransomware will typically infect your main system files. The initial run will allow the malware to learn about your computer and where your files are. In a matter of days, your data will be encrypted, and you will not be able to access it.

If they are encrypted, can’t I decrypt them?

That’s the whole point here. You can’t unless you give into the demands of the ransomer.

I have a backup; I can restore from there, right?

Possibly. Ransomware not only affects your internal hard drive but any external hard drives as well. This includes external Time Machine drives and connected servers. The malware could potentially encrypt all those files, keeping you from being able to restore from a backup.

Can’t I just pay the ransom?

Sure you can, but many times the ransom doesn’t get you the decryption key. So you may have just spent money for nothing.

So what do I do?

The best thing is to protect yourself from Ransomware. First, have an offsite backup that doesn’t require you connecting to a drive to backup (such as our Virtua Computers Offsite Backup). Also, make sure that offsite backup has versioning. Versioning is when you have multiple copies of your backups so that you can restore from different points in time.
Second, don’t install the random software you get from emails even if they look okay. If it’s someone you know – call them and verify the email before you install anything. I get emails from myself (clearly, it’s not me) telling me that there is something wrong at the bank, and I need to “click here” to fix it. Uh-uh. Nope! Not clicking on that!

Third, make sure your business is being monitored by your IT company. Virtua Computers now offers VirtuaCare, a service where we can watch your computer for malware and hopefully try to get it off your machine before the ransomware activates.

If you think you are in danger of ransomware, please call us immediately so we can help you.

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