A finger touching the center of an iconised target. Adjacent to this is the text Ransomware.

Ransomware: Are you protected?

Encryption viruses (Ransomware) are on the increase and have become a real problem!

We live in a digital era where we rely heavily on our mobile phones, computers, laptops, tablets and other digital devices to see us through our day to day lives. Recently, the US and Canadian government issued a joint cyber alert, warning computer users about the surge in ransomware attacks.

What is Ransomware?

As it says in the name, you are being held ransom – digitally! Hackers access your data, encrypt it so you cannot access it and request a financial ransom in exchange for your data.

Ransomware is becoming an increasing issue with several clients that Bean IT supports becoming victims! It has proven to be a lucrative, fast cash business for cyber hackers, but there are ways in which you can help stay protected.

9 simple ways to protect yourself from cyber hackers

  1. Back up your files regularly and keep a recent backup off-site. If you’re not using our off-site backup facility, please talk to us as it significantly improves the resilience of your business and at XXXX monthly is a very small price to pay for peace of mind.
  2. Don’t enable macros within emails.
  3. Consider installing Microsoft Office viewers.
  4. Be very careful about opening unsolicited attachments.
  5. Don’t give yourself more login power than necessary.
  6. Maintain software updates.
  7. Train and retrain employees in your business.
  8. Firewalls
  9. Anti-Virus Software

What if I get infected?

If you believe that your or any PC on your network is infected with an encryption virus, immediately disconnect all PCs from the network and shut them down. Ransomware viruses actively and aggressively target any files that they can find on your PC or on your network, so it is imperative that you disable it as soon as possible. Once all PCs are shut down, give Bean IT a call and we will do whatever is possible to assist.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of a cyber hacker encrypting your data, unless you’ve got back ups, you’re left either paying for the return or losing your files, forever: a prospect that’s previously caused many to pay up.

Ransomware and infections can be devastating to both individuals and organisations. Recovery can be difficult and sometimes impossible, and may require the services of a data recovery specialist.

When the US and Canada issued their Ransomware alert, they advise you not to pay. The alert said, unsympathetically:

“Paying the ransom does not guarantee the encrypted files will be released; it only guarantees that the malicious actors receive the victim’s money, and in some cases, their banking information. In addition, decrypting files does not mean the malware infection itself has been removed.”

Recently, Bean IT helped a client where an employee’s PC had become infected on the network with the Cryptolocker virus as a result of opening an unsolicited email attachment on a private email account, and all data on the server was encrypted resulting in over 50 employees being unable to access their files, and all network applications becoming inoperable. In these situations, swift action is essential to mitigate the damage caused! Fortunately the client was using our off site backup facility so we were able to restore them to a recent back up position and the entire company of 50+ employees was back up and working in 3 hours.

If you’d like to discuss how you can ensure the best security of your IT systems, contact us on 0121 667 8977 or email info@beanit.co.uk

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