Ransomware is one of the most devastating computer viruses in today’s computing landscape. You may have heard of one of its most famous variations, Cryptolocker. It received a lot of attention when it dramatically hit the scene two short years ago. Thankfully, the threat from CryptoLocker has decreased after the GameOver Zeus botnet was taken down last year. Although, now we’ve got a new, more contagious strain of this ransomware to deal with known as Cryptowall.
To give you an idea of what both Cryptolocker and Cryptowall are capable of, here’s how we described Cryptolocker when it first began infecting computers:
It’s capable of taking over your system, encrypting your files, and literally holding your data ransom in order to extort money from you. If you don’t pay, then your files are deleted… It’s the hacker’s expectation that a company infected with CryptoLocker will see the threatening red graphic take over their computer screen, panic, and then pay up. It’s obvious that CryptoLocker is attempting to use fear as a weapon because a clock counting down from 100 hours is included with the notification that your computer has been taken over. If the clock strikes 0:00, and you’ve not paid up, then your data will be wiped.
If all of that doesn’t sound bad enough, then comes along Cryptowall and adds another layer of ugliness to this hot mess. Essentially, Cryptowall can do everything that Cryptolocker can do, PLUS turn your infected computer into a botnet that will spread the virus to PCs connected to your network. Yikes! We don’t have to explain how devastating it would be for Cryptowall to make its way to your company’s network.
Now, you may be thinking, “Why haven’t these hackers been tracked down and caught?” It’s the nature of ransomware to cloak hackers with anonymity. In order to make their financial transactions, hackers take advantage of anonymous tools like Bitcoin and the Tor network. This makes it extremely difficult for authorities to locate the crypto-culprits.
Here are the various ways that Cryptowall spreads:
Compromised websites, and other types of malware.
Infected attachments under the guise of invoices, fax reports, and other documents, that execute on download.
What makes ransomwares like these so devastating is that they target one of your business’s most valuable assets, its data. If a hacker gains full control of your company’s virtual lifeblood, they’ll have the ability to hold your feet to the fire and demand an exorbitant fee. Is your network up to the task of deflecting such a cyber attack? Here are three ways that you can make sure it is:
Smart Web Browsing Practices: Don’t open suspicious emails or visit sketchy websites, and never download a file unless you’re absolutely certain of what it is. Also, don’t respond to unsolicited emails, download any unreviewed apps, and never disable your antivirus software.
Have a Reliable Security Solution: Make sure that you’re running updated antivirus software and that you have a strong firewall. A Unified Threat Management tool is the strongest network security solution on the market, and it includes content filtering to block employees from visiting malicious websites.
Use a Backup and Recovery Tool: One of the best things you can do to protect your data from CryptoLocker is to back it up and have a way to recover it. A Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) tool from PACE Technical Services is great for this because it takes several snapshots of your data throughout the day and then backs everything up to the cloud. This means, if you get hit with CryptoLocker, BDR will then restore the version of your data that doesn’t contain the ransomware.
PACE Technical Services can help you with all of these proactive security measures and more. Reach out to us at 905.763.7896 to put up your own virtual wall that will keep hackers at bay.