We have recently seen a particularly nasty type of malware called ransomware making the rounds. It encrypts important files on your computer, then demands a ransom to unencrypt your files. It is particularly nasty because it can also encrypt your backups and any server files you have permission to modify.
We want San Diego businesses to be aware of the risk and protect themselves. Some anti-virus software is not yet providing protection. So, whoever takes care of your IT infrastructure should be aware of the problem and take a few steps to protect your organization.
The most common ransomware we have seen is called Cryptolocker. It is delivered as an attachment to an email that claims to be from UPS, FedEx, Intuit, or other big, well-known company (it is not). The file is an executable file, but is disguised as a .zip. When the user opens it, it looks like nothing happens. However within a short while, you get a screen that warns you that your files are encrypted and you must pay a ransom to get them back.
There are several steps you can take to protect your computers and network:
1) Offline Backups – Because ransomware can encrypt any writeable files, it can encrypt some backup files. That is why it is important to have offline backup files — a backup arrangement that prevents data from being inadvertently overwritten. If your computer is infected, you can use the offline backup to restore your computer.
2) User Awareness – To avoid many types of malware, including ransomware, users should be very wary of opening attachments. This is particularly true of executables and .zip files which can contain executable files. Some simple training for users can prevent a lot of potential problems.
3) Software Restriction Policies – This disables the ability of executable files to run within a user’s local appdata folder. Every variant of Cryptolocker, so far, has run an executable from this directory.
For more details, visit: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA13-309A
Ransomware is definitely one of the nastier malware that can infect your computers and network. So, it is worth some additional effort to protect your files and data. And if you would like some assistance in protecting your IT infrastructure, Skyriver IT would be glad to help.
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