3 Ways to Insure Against Cryptolocker Ransomware

Cryptolocker continues to pose a huge threat to individuals and organisations in Australia and beyond. It’s been around in various guises for more than 15 years, outliving many genuine businesses. In fact, a recent Australian Government report claimed that 60 per cent of businesses hit by a cyber-attack go out of business within 6 months. The same report found that small businesses are increasingly being targeted because their cyber security measures are less stringent.

Key to Cryptolocker’s success is that it continually evolves and adapts to changes in technology. It’s one of the most persistent security threats we come across, so it makes sense that protection against Cryptolocker is the topic for our very first blog post.

What is Cryptolocker?

Cryptolocker is type of malware virus that infects and encrypts your files and documents. Known as ‘ransomware’, the virus creators demand payment in bitcoins for data integrity. While fewer than 2 per cent of businesses may pay the ransom, this still adds up to millions of dollars each year. What’s more, tens of thousands of businesses are losing valuable files – and time – because of the virus.

How can businesses protect against it?

1.      Back up your data securely.

The single most effective protection against ransomware is securely backing up your data each day. It means you’re insured against any successful attack. That way, you can be confident you’ll be able to recover and restore your files without paying the ransom. Sure, you might lose a few hours’ work, but you won’t lose a lifetime’s.

Cryptolocker is smart. It will encrypt files on any drives mapped to your computer with a drive letter, including USBs and cloud file stores. If you’re backing up to the cloud, take note. You need an external drive or service that is not mapped to your computer and which disconnects when it’s not running.

Recently one of our customers had eight devices infected by Cryptolocker. We managed to recover all the affected files from a very recent backup (meaning little to no lost work) and had their full system up and running in an hour and a half. Secure back up is insurance for your business.

2.      Stay alert.

Cryptolocker often disguises itself in emails and zip files sent to your computer. Sometimes the easiest way to avoid an attack is to apply a critical eye and a healthy dose of scepticism to the emails you receive. If anything you receive looks suspicious, don’t open it – report it to your IT provider.

3.      Patch and update your software.

When the Head of Cybersecurity at Google tells you to “Patch often, patch quickly”, take heed. Keeping on top of software updates is a critical step to defending against cyber attacks. Enable automatic updates and go directly to the vendor’s website if you can’t update automatically. Cryptolocker is often disguised as a software update notification too— sneaky!

More information

If you’re a Smikteck customer and worried about cyber protection, please, talk to your Smikteck Consultant. We’re always ready to help and advise on the latest in technology and security. If you’re not a customer, talk to us anyway! We’d love to know how we can help you.

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