Your Money or Your Files – Is Your Backup Ransomware Safe?
It’s always wise to back up files regularly using a reliable data protection solution. But a recent development in cyberspace makes it more important than ever – ransomware. This new wrinkle on malware gives the bad guys a direct route to your bank account through the simple expedient of locking you out of your files.
Those logging onto infected systems are served up a notice telling them that all of their files have been encrypted and if they ever want to open them again, they will have to pay a ransom. For individuals, this might be a few hundred dollars. But for businesses, the amount can go to $50,000 or more.
Known as ransomware, this kind of attack isn’t a rare occurrence. In one recent two month period, at least a quarter of a million computers were targeted with about $27 million in payments made by users desperate for the return of their data, according to the FBI.
One example known as Locker had been quietly infecting a lot of computers. This ransomware wormed its way into various systems but sat there silently for many months. But at midnight on May 25, 2015, its criminal handlers commanded this virulent strain of ransomware to wreak havoc. It encrypted data files, deleted any files on the computer that could be used to back up data, and displayed a screen asking for a ransom in exchange for access.
Companies large and small are falling foul of this threat. The malware gains a foothold via social engineering – tricking one user or another into clicking on a malicious link or opening an attachment. Unfortunately, the bad guys are so good at this that the chances of stopping them completely are small. Due to lust, greed, fear, or basic gullibility, one employee or another is going to fall foul of an email telling them they have just won a million dollars. This and other ploys are clicked on by users and they are suddenly in a lot of trouble. Company data is completely inaccessible until money is handed over.
Will Your Backup Withstand a Ransomware Attack?
This shocking development makes it all the more important that organization data is properly backed up. In the event of a ransomware attack, the presence of a comprehensive backup means that any infected servers or devices can be wiped clean, then all software and data reloaded.
But the effectiveness of backup can be hampered by several factors. Some companies and some individuals forget to run backups. Unfortunately with ransomware, local backup to a machine can be ineffective if it is the only backup/recovery option. Others set their backup intervals at one week. That means that if the backup is done each Saturday morning and the ransomware attack took place on Friday night, an entire week’s data doesn’t exist on any backup. So at that point, the question becomes, “Is that week of data so valuable that it makes sense to pay the ransom?”
How do you choose a ransomware safe backup option for your business? More and more companies are turning to cloud backup and restore services, which automatically send data to the cloud on a daily basis. This ensures that critical data is protected against such malicious attacks, and available for recovery at all times – making it one less thing businesses need to worry about.