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What is ransomware?

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

How dangerous is encrypting ransomware to your business?

Ransomware is extremely dangerous to businesses of all sizes. FBI and other law enforcement officials might encourage individuals and businesses to pay the ransom—it's the quickest way to retrieve your files. However, IT Master Services does not recommend it. There's absolutely no guarantee that paying the ransom will give you access to your files again. Also, it makes you a target for future malware infection.

How dangerous is encrypting ransomware to your business?

  • Frequency - Millions of ransom attacks are attempted on companies both small and large each year.
  • Date - Ransomware can encrypt your company's most important files, such as accounting, medical data, or confidential customer information. Once encrypted, you can't get the files back—unless you pay the ransom.
  • Money - In February 2016, Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital paid $17,000 to retrieve patient data from hackers. The Verizon Data Breach Investigations report estimates that if 1,000 records are lost, businesses can expect to lose more than $67,000. As the size of the breach increases, so does the cost to business— exponentially.
  • Reputation - Some newer forms of ransomware threaten businesses not only with encrypting files but also leaking sensitive information on-line.

Three levels of ransomware

  1. Low grade - Often called scareware
  2. Middle grade - Browser or screen locking ransomware
  3. Most dangerous - Encrypting ransomware
Protecting Against Ransomware - Reno, Sparks, Sun Valley

What is the best prevention?

The best protection is prevention. Take these steps to keep ransomware from harming your business.

Below are some very specific tasks things that can be done to prevent becoming a victim.

  • Patch your system - Make sure you keep browsers, operating systems, and other software applications up-to-date.
  • End USer Education - One of the most common ways that computers are infected with ransomware is through social engineering. Educate users on how to detect phishing campaigns, suspicious websites, and other scams.
  • Back up files - Make secure copies of your data on a regular basis and store them off-site.

Does it matter how I backup my data?

Be sure backup files are not stored on a mapped drive. Some strains of ransomware can even encrypt files over unmapped network shares. Also if you are backing up onto a USB or external hard drive, be sure the devices are physically disconnected from the computer. IT Master Services recommends storage of critical data on a secure cloud server with high-level encryption and multiple-factor authentication.

What can you do if you're infected?

If you've been responsibly backing up your files, not all hope is lost. Scan your backups for malware on another PC that isn't infected. Then run a scan on the infected machine to clean any traces of ransomware or other malware. If your backups are clean, you can restore them to your computer.

IT Master Services can always assist you in making sure your business is setup to combat ransomware and malware call us today (775) 229-4254 for more information

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