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Ransomware: How to Protect Yourself

Ransomware; a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

Ransomware; a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

Ransomware is a form of malware (malicious software designed to spy on your activity) that has become increasingly sophisticated in its efficacy over the past few years. Entering into your computer system through a vulnerable entrance or an apparently innocuous downloaded file, the culprit will deliver the ransomware to begin its attack. Some malware is subtle, siphoning data or corrupting systems undetected over long periods of time; ransomware is not one of these.

Imagine a sledgehammer swung directly at your shop window but rather than seeing your wares on display stolen, they are forcibly locked into a safe that is left in the middle of your shop. Attached is a polite note telling you that unless you pay a specific amount of money within 24 hours, everything you own inside the safe will be destroyed. This is ransomware.

When the malware enters your system, it installs itself and encrypts your files, locking you out from accessing them. A warning will cover your screen, informing you of your device’s lockdown, sometimes under the guise of law enforcement or cyber protective agencies but often boldly stating its criminal intent.

In Australia the use of ransomware has notably increased as businesses countrywide find themselves under attack from cyber criminals, costing millions of dollars in ransoms over the last few years. The technology has been growing for two decades and has now become relatively simple for even the crudest of hackers to use. Unfortunately the scam has gained a notoriety for succeeding, with the hackers fulfilling their promise and deleting the malware upon payment, causing many to pay the ransom and propagate the scam’s longevity.

With this ease of access and success, its employment will only continue to grow and far too many companies are still unprotected against this sort of attack.

How can you protect your information?

Anti-virus protection is in constant development to match the methods of attack ransomware utilises, but defending against these attacks takes more than just a simple wall to block its path. It takes multiple protection layers, and most importantly, a way to recover your information should an attack be successful. Ultimately there’s no one system that will protect you; you have to have multiple layers of protection and always be able to retrieve your data.

One of our key functions is the optimisation of our clients’ networks. That function is not just about increasing productivity and ease of use, but also one of security. We have pre-empted the rise of ransomware with our solutions to protect our clients from incoming attacks. Our partnership with organisations like Citrix, Datto, and Malwarebytes, gives us the edge in designing an information technology foundation that grows your company and secures it at the same time.

Our programs for backing up your files, system and application data makes thorough control of your critical assets a streamlined process. Having a clear restore point, and a practiced system of creating and using it, makes ‘disaster recovery’ a misnomer as our methods are designed to circumvent the disaster altogether.

The expertise we have in implementing the best possible processes for optimising your company’s network also gives us key insight into discovering the pathways and vulnerabilities that ransomware can use to attack you. With access to our staff’s knowledge, and the partnerships we have with Citrix and a host of industry leading groups, we can ensure that you stay ahead of the malware and keep your company and its property safe.

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