If ransomware manages to sneak in through your network firewall and defenses and causes critical damage - you can always wipe your computers and start afresh, but only if your important and critical files are safely backed up elsewhere.

The best IT & business network security employs multiple lines of defense, from server-side spam filtering, network firewalls to desktop antivirus and the latest OS security updates. There is still a chance that some sneaky malware can slip past your safeguards, perhaps disguised as an innocent-looking email, so it’s important to back up your important critical business data as a last line of defense.

Crypto-style ransomware attacks generally use human frailties in order to do their dirty work. They typically arrive in the form of bogus emails that look too boring or dull to be fake, instead of too good to be true. Rather than telling you you’ve won Tattslotto or inherited a long-lost aunts fortune, they claim that you’ve missed a package or forgotten to pay a mobile phone, utility or water bill – the kinds of emails business people would expect to receive. In some cases most of the links within the dodgy email really do link to the correct website - it'll be the one important payment link that is fake or obscured.

Opening the attachment unleashes the malware, which quickly encrypts important documents on your computer and can even go in search of files on external drives and network file shares. With your files locked away, the scammers demand payment in Bitcoins in return for your data's release. Quite the nasty situation.

Combating malware isn’t just a technical challenge; it also requires training your staff and people to remain vigilant.

Training and coaching your staff to spot suspicious emails goes hand in hand with business security policies and processes that ensure only authorised staff deal with emails demanding payment or involving other administrative tasks such as liaising with courier companies.

WannaCry is a particularly nasty ransomware currently getting about because it’s a virus/worm that can spread independently, rather than waiting for someone in your business to accidentally open an infected attachment or click on a malicious link. WannaCry exploits a well-known flaw in Windows that many businesses have failed to patch with the latest security updates from Microsoft. Make sure you are keeping Windows up to date.

A robust internet security system for your business should catch these kinds of ransomware threats before they do any major damage but, if all else fails, you can always reinstall or roll back Windows and then revert to your data backups rather than paying the ransom.

Version Control: For your backup solution to save the day it’s vital that it keeps previous versions of documents, otherwise if you inadvertently back up an encrypted file it will overwrite the original and you’ll lose it forever.

Even if your backup service runs antivirus checks on your files before they’re uploaded, you can’t rely on it to detect a ransom-ware attack. Remember, your files aren’t actually infected with a virus – they’re simply encrypted, and the simply put issue is that you don’t know the decryption password.

It’s important to ensure your backup system keeps multiple copies of all file formats, not just your regular office documents. This doesn’t just offer an insurance policy of sorts against ransomware, it can also save the day if the files on your computer become corrupted – ensuring you can always revert to an earlier version when your file was still intact.

As scammers become more and more cunning, there’s always a chance ransomware could slip past your network defenses. If ransomware does hit your business, make sure you have multiple backups tucked away safe and sound - both on-site and off-site.

RNS IT & Data Solutions can supply backup solutions for every budget - from home computers to complete office solutions...

Come and have a chat to us about protecting your files and business from everything from hardware failure, ransom-ware, viruses, to acts of god, and disasters.

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