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Ransomware… It seems like you can’t go a few days without reading about it in the news or seeing another company falling victim to it.  Ransomware is a dangerous form of malware that doesn’t attempt to destroy data directly. Instead, it locks it away using encryption and ransoms the access to the data back to the company – hence the name!

A brief history… Ransomware began with programs that would lock the user’s screen unless a ransom was paid – often claiming to be from the FBI or another legitimate organization. But as time has passed, the methods have become more and more sophisticated.

The current generation of ransomware encrypts (scrambles the data) files on the computer it infects, and searches for other computers on the network to infect. The files are scrambled in such a way that only the right key can unlock them – and it is that key which the creators of the virus use to convince you to pay up! Without this key, your data remains scrambled and unusable. Even worse, the newest generations also scramble the names of the files, so you have no way of knowing what files are held hostage, even if you catch the infection early on.

Ransomware is on the rise, with the FBI reporting that over 1,000 victims had reported infections of a single virus, and new variants being produced every day. Since most ransomware originates out of Eastern Europe and Russia, authors of the software are notoriously difficult to locate and prosecute.

The solution! The only real option is a combined approach, using both preparation and protection. At the rate Ransomware is growing, it will remain a relevant threat to the interests of businesses for some time to come. But don’t fret! A preparation approach with a disaster recovery plan will ensure that if your business becomes the victim of a ransomware virus, your data can be recovered without succumbing to the malware’s extortion.

But what about my backup plan? As ransomware evolves and grows, the viruses are becoming more savvy about seeking out directly connected backups and encrypting them, too. A backup is no good against such attacks if it’s just as vulnerable as the data it’s intended to protect! Maintaining a recovery plan that is capable of protecting you from ransomware viruses isn’t easy, and takes time and effort – the sort of project that requires the work of a dedicated IT staff or IT Consultant.

Who should you call? For a small business that seeks to protect itself against ransomware, a MSSP, or Managed Security Service Provider, can be a real benefit, in order to ensure the company gets enterprise-level protection from these sort of threats at a price they can afford, without the need to hire on full-time IT Staff. Having an MSSP will also protect your business from other threats, and managed IT services can be a boon to your bottom line!

 

Call us today to discuss our MSSP services!

 

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