September 2017

5 Ways to Avoid Ransomware Virus

By now most of us will have heard of the ‘wannacry’ ransomware that hit large organisations including FedEx and the NHS, where operations were cancelled, X-rays, test results and patient records became unavailable and phones did not work.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that blocks access to data until a ransom is paid and displays a message requesting payment to unlock it, in other words it will deny access to files until a decryption key is paid for. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan that is disguised as a legitimate file.
The virus locked people out of their files and then demanded a payment to restore access. In this attack, the initial demand was for users to pay £230 worth of the online currency Bitcoin, but warned that the “payment will be raised” after a certain amount of time. The malware itself was spread through e-mail.

1. Backup

Once your files are encrypted your options are limited, however if you have a backup, one option is to recover your files. Unfortunately, most people don’t have them or they can be out of date or missing information. Of course ransomware can also target backup files, so the best advice is to have multiple copies both on cloud services and a physical disk drive, which is then disconnected from your network. Frequent backups are then necessary to keep your information up-to-date.

2. Update your systems

Ransomware is successful because of a combination of factors, including not updating software fixes and its ability to spread quickly once inside universities, businesses and government networks. Updating software will take care of most vulnerabilities and it is important every one carries out these updates to remove any weak links in your network.

3. Use Anti-virus softwareStop Cyber attacks

Anti-virus software will protect you from most basic and well-known viruses by scanning your system against known viruses. Malware is constantly changing and antivirus is frequently days behind detecting it. Malware is designed to be hidden, so you’re not likely to notice it by chance, also make sure you use anti-malware across all devices, on your phone, laptop, desktop and tablet. There are lots of options out there but make sure you get your anti-malware from a reputable source.

4. Educate

Your workforce should be educated in data security best practices such as the importance of backing up files and updating their computers, as well as knowing not to click on dubious links or attachments. System administrators should ensure that employees don’t have unnecessary access to parts of the network that aren’t critical to their work. Get Safe Online have provided some useful information here

5. If malware does hit, take action

Best to disconnect your computer from the network, and some organisations will shut down a network to prevent continued encryption and possibly the loss of further files. Hackers will try to encourage you to stay linked to the network. Law enforcement agencies discourage you from paying ransoms as it incentivises hackers for future attacks and there is no guarantee the hackers will restore files. See more from the National Cyber Security Centre

BlueZone Technologies is a cloud based solution
BlueZone Technologies is a cloud based solution meaning that your data is stored on servers in big data centres, which are secure and managed 24 hours a day. BlueZone Technologies’ cloud applications use secure, encrypted connections which means your data is encrypted on your computer before being sent to the server and the same is true when it comes back again. Meaning your data can not be intercepted. Cloud software companies take data security very seriously and work hard to protect customers’ data.
Find out more about how BlueZone Manager can organise your data securely, click here