Ransomware is a type of malware installed on your computer without your knowledge it then begins to encrypt and lock your files.  The developers of this software are criminals.  They developed and released this software with the intention of charging victims for access to the encryption keys to unlock their computers.

 

How does ransomware get on your computer?

The most common ways to be infected with ransomware are via a fraudulent email disguised as a legitimate one and visiting malicious sites on the Internet.

Fraudulent emails are one of the most common technique.  These criminals scrap your website for email address such as shipping@mydomain.ca or sales@mydomain.com.  These addresses receive a lot of emails in many cases from automated systems such as courier companies.   It is easy for someone to easily be confused and click on the e-mail.   

Many companies have old web-sites.  These were put together as a "project" instead of being actively managed by a web development studio.  When they are not actively managed, they frequently fall behind in patches and security updates to the base website platform.   They become unintentional hosts for malware, waiting for someone to come to the website with out adequate anti-malware or firewalls.    

 

What to do if you are infected?  

Stay calm.  Paying the ransom demanded should be a last resort! Call your local Millenium Micro Affiliate to understand the options available for getting your data back.  Mighty Oaks is a regional affiliate based in British Columbia.  

In some but not all cases it is possible to recover and disinfect the machine.  In other cases we are able to restore your files to a earlier state using your cloud backup solution. 

 

How to avoid the problem in the first place?  

Anti-malware software and next-generation firewall technology is extremely effective at blocking malware in the first place.   There are several good products out on the market and their cost per user is modest.   We use Sophos technology with most of our client base since we find it to be one of the better platforms on the market.   That said, there are a number of other well respected alternatives that are also available from other suppliers.  

At home: Sophos for Home is free and offers many of the features of the business version for use in the home.   For business we offer regular 1,2,3 year subscriptions on month-by-month subscriptions.  Special government and charity discounts are also offered.

A good quality firewall should have a software subscription component that keeps the device up to date and ensures the supplier is pushing out updates as new threats are discovered.

A quality backup strategy is also a must have.   You need to ensure that in the rare chances that something gets it, you are still protected and can easily recover.  We recommend cloud solutions for smaller installations and hybrid disaster recovery and backup solutions for larger installations.

Consider a good spam filtering pre-processor on your e-mail.  Microsoft Office 365 offers does a good job on this front.  If you do not want to move to 365 and are getting a lot of suspicious spam in your e-mail consider our cloud e-mail solutions, with packages starting at $2 per account per month. 

If you are hosting a web-site, ensure you have it professionality hosted and managed.  That means someone is checking to ensure everything is up to date and security patches are being applied.  If your digital marketing studio is not already providing these services, lets talk, we an augment what they are doing with a fully managed solution.

 

 

 

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