How to Keep Ransomware Out

Malware and hackers do not typically create elaborate programs to hack into a system. It is often as simple as an email with a bogus link, or determining a poor password in to the system. However, they prey upon the social cues that humans look for when receiving an email.

Think about a thief in a movie that wears a janitor’s outfit to break into a secret room. There’s no magic key – people just assume that they were meant to be there. And that’s the way a normal hacker works, but unlike our janitorial compadre, deployers of malware do so across multiple companies. They’re looking for easy hits with maximum gain. It’s a business of extortion, and ironically, they need to be profitable too. So, how do you stop this thief from gaining access to your business?

These people are becoming even more clever these days. They are able to send emails that look just like one a colleague could have sent. What’s important is to look for clues like the right email address, misspellings, content that seems to be incorrect, attachments that are text files. Trust your gut – if it looks funny, just go ahead and ask the person first.

Do not be afraid to share your experiences with others at work. If you spot a funny email, get others to look at it. You’ll let others know that there is a new tactic to be on the lookout for, and you might get a little chuckle out of it as well.

I’ve personally fallen for one where I was expecting to receive a document from a certain person. Lo and behold, I received a link from that person to download a document. Something didn’t look right, and I should’ve trusted my gut. I shared my experience with others, and collectively we’ve been able to spot other new attacks before they could cause any damage.

At MVS, we also take extra precautions to protect our user’s data. We regularly backup our hosted server to an external cloud service, outside of the normal local backups that the hosting service provides. Also, there is a delay in which our backups are sent to this external backup service. Each day is stored as a unique filename. What this means is when there is an attack, the older “good” backup files are protected from being overwritten by a newer “bad” backup file.

It takes a little bit of vigilance to keep on top of new threats. However, it’s not a one-person effort, and extra tools to manage your backups can go a long way. For more info on backups, check out our article on how to effectively backup and restore your data. If you’re looking for ways to keep thieves from interrupting your business, give us a call.

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