Cyber Security and Ransomware
Instances of Ransomware, particularly CryptoLocker are on the rise.
Ransomware is a type of data encryption that is used to extort money from people whose machines have become locked, by holding the encrypted data to ransom. CryptoLocker, or Crypt0L0ker is one type of ransomware. Some different ransomwares include: Cryptoworm, cryptoware, a cryptovirus, or a cryprotrojan.
Ransomware differs from computer viruses, in that it uses data encryption technology to encrypt or ‘lock’ files and folders and render them unusable.
Victims are presented with a ‘ransom note’ – an offer to decrypt, decode, or unlock the data in return for a payment, typically ranging from $100 – $400.
The ransom note will either be a text file, a pop-up window or even a full-screen notification. Ransom notes often portray the attacker as a national, or even international law enforcement agency, for example, the FBI or Scotland Yard.
At Alpha Scan, we can help you to stay protected; please see below for some key information about ransomware and some simple tips on how to protect your business.
Cyber Security and Ransomware protection for businesses in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset
There are a number of different ways ransomware can get onto your computer, all require being connected to the internet.
Ransomware is not a virus, but is unwanted data encryption. As such, ransomware can remain undetected by virus protection software. There is no fool proof way to stay protected from viruses and malware 100% of the time; new robust and adaptable forms of malicious software are being developed all the time, however, there are some simple steps that you and your colleagues can follow to minimise the risk.
- Talk about data security – Awareness is key. Make sure you and your colleagues are aware of the risks of data security and follow the steps below to stay protected. Share this webpage or get in contact with Alpha Scan if you require us to visit your site and brief your team.
- Exercise caution with email – Ransomware is commonly contained within email attachments. Ask your teams not to download or open attachments from unknown or unexpected sources, even if these look legitimate.
- Be careful when clicking on links – Hyper-links found in a chat messages, emails and computer applications, can lead you to become infected with ransomware by connecting you to a compromised site or a dangerous file download. If you are unsure, do not click.
- Back up your data – The single biggest thing that will defeat ransomware is having a regularly updated backup. This will allow you to restore your data to the point before it was encrypted, minimising the amount of information that is lost. For a fully robust disaster recovery, we suggest a daily onsite backup process, supplemented by an automated offsite backup with a further cloud-based backup contingency.
- Show hidden file extensions – One way that Cryptolocker arrives is in a file that is named with the file extension “.PDF.EXE”, this can be missed as Window’s default behaviour is to hide known file-extensions. Re-enable the ability to see the full file-extension within your email client and it can be easier to spot suspicious files. You may also wish to set your email client to deny emails that have more than one file extension.
- Block .exe file extensions in email – The file extension “.EXE” denotes an executable file, or app that will run certain procedures on your machine. These can be used to upload viruses or ransomware to your computer. If you do not legitimately need to exchange executable files within your business, you may wish to set your email client to deny emails that are sent with the file extension .exe.
- Install anti-virus software – Whilst not effective against data encryption ransomware, anti-virus software is essential for modern business.
What is a UTM?
Unified threat management (UTM) is an approach to security management that allows an administrator to monitor and manage a wide variety of security-related applications and infrastructure components through a single management console.
UTMs, sometimes referred to as next-generation firewalls, are typically purchased as cloud services or network appliances. UTMs provide firewall, intrusion detection, antimalware, spam and content filtering and VPN capabilities in one integrated package that can be installed and updated easily. Centralised logging and reporting features allow an up to the minute view of network security activity.
The principal benefit of a UTM product is its ability to greatly improve network security whilst significantly reducing the complexity of administration.
Alpha Scan recommend WatchGuard’s UTM solution, which comprises best-in-class, enterprise-grade security solutions, built from the ground up to focus on ease of deployment, ease of use and ongoing management in addition to providing the strongest security possible.
Anti virus features:
- Spam blocking
- Gateway antivirus
- Spyware prevention
- Intrusion prevention
- RL filtering
- Network intrusion