'The Rise of Ransomware'

Ransomware is a type of malware that can be covertly installed on a PC without the knowledge or intention of the users. It restricts access to the infected computer system in some way. It then works at stealing your data, locking your PC and demands that you pay a ransom to get rid of it.

Here are some significant findings:

• According to global research, 80% SMBs do not use data protection.

• Only half of SMBs use email protection, even though Ransomware is mostly spread via email.

• Employees within SMBs are almost 4 times more likely to click on malicious links within an email.

For these reasons it’s prudent to prevent the spread of this virus which will lead to lost data and serious downtime. The Virus has reappeared under the name Cryptolocker Service. Cryptolocker is a ransomware Trojan which targeted computers running Microsoft Windows. With Cryptolocker, the encrypted files cannot be recovered.

How can you protect yourself from Cryptolocker and Ransomware? Firstly don’t open unexpected emails. They can arrive in various forms such asdemands for payment, statements and things that will get your attention. Second you have to make sure that your computer(s) are running the latest version of Anti-Virus Software at the highest setting of detection, because malware writers are constantly updating and releasing new variants and families. It is known that a number of organisations have succumbed and paid the ransom but still didn’t receive any key to remove the virus.

Antivirus products are available that have incorporated an update to allow them to scan emails as soon as they come in. They scan the contents and attachments of the email, then Quarantine the email.

However if you have fallen prey to Ransomware or Cryptolocker, the only real solution is to get the server/PC reformatted and restore from Back Ups. This normally means an Engineer on site to resolve at a cost to you and a few days downtime. If Back Ups are not up to date then you will lose data which may have other financial implications.

Beware of Ransomware and help spread this message rather than the dreaded virus.