Are you ready to pay the ransom?

Thought Leadership on the Technology of Security presented by SOS Technology Group

Ransomware creators collected more than $5 billion in 2015. The majority of their ransom requests were around the $5,000 mark and targeted businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Company owners who did not know of any other solution paid this sum and had their files unlocked, therefore empowering these criminals to strike again.

The way it works is simple: An email is circulated that looks like it originated from your bank or UPS and contains a hyperlink. The link may reference verifying your account or tracking a package. The recipient clicks on the link, which shows a “page cannot be displayed” error. The recipient then carries on like normal. In the background, their machine has been infected and a virus searches for all files and folders, both on the local machine and the network, converting all files to unusable formats. In the folder, a new file is created, usually called “Ransom,” with steps on where to wire the payment to release your files.

Currently, there is no way to protect yourself from ransomware with 100% certainty. However, there are some solutions available that can combat 85% of all known threats. The only way to fully protect yourself at this point is with a robust backup solution. Having a USB drive or cloud backup that occurs nightly is adequate, but not ideal. The better solution is a full system image that occurs hourly throughout the day. That way, if an infection strikes, you simply rewind your system to an hour earlier and, voila, the infected files are no more.

Having an IT managed services provider that can deploy these solutions as well as inform you of your exposure is crucial in this day and age. Or you can pay the ransom the next time an infection spreads…

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