Thought Leadership

Beware: Ransomware!

Beware Ransomware We wanted to alert you about the rise in ransomware infections. Here is what you should know about Ransomware and how you can protect your information.

The Ransomware Threat 

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts documents and holds your information hostage.  The criminal will demand that the victim pay a ransom for decryption.   Ransoms normally ranges between $300 to $900 and can reach into the thousands of dollars.

How To Protect Yourself

  1. Backup Your Information – First and foremost is to make sure you are have frequent and healthy offsite backups of all your files. In the event of a Ransomware attack, if you have a current backup then you can restore your files from a backup and get back up and running.
  2. Antivirus – Be sure you are running an updated antivirus solution.
  3. Security Updates Are Kept Current – All of your applications need to have their security updates (patches) applied on a regular basis. These updates will close known vulnerabilities that could lead to inadvertent gaps in your security.
  4. Be Suspicious of Emails – Always be on alert for emails that you weren’t expecting. Don’t open attachments unless you KNOW they are safe.
  5. Never Enable Macros – If you receive a document via email or web and it prompts you to enable a macro… DON’T.

Next Generation Security Options

Layered Security

Anti-Spam and Anti-Virus just isn’t enough in today’s threat landscape. You need several layers of protection to prevent a ransomware infection.

One of the most successful tactics to prevent an infection is to cut off the communication between the infection and the attacker.  In some instances, if there’s no communication, it can’t proceed with encryption so it’s rendered ineffective.

A firewall with Unified Threat Management (UTM) is an effective tool for protecting your applications and data. It provides several layers of security within a single device.  These layers include web filtering, app control, and APT blocker which all help prevent ransomware infections.

OpenDNS

www.opendns.com is a company and service which extends the Domain Name System by adding features such as phishing protection and optional content filtering to traditional recursive DNS services.  They even offer a free service.

If you’d like to know more about how WatchGuard UTM and APT blocker or OpenDNS, please contact us.

Resources

ICIT Ransomware Report: 2016 Will Be the Year Ransomare Holds America Hostage – ICIT

FBI investigating growing number of ransomware cases – GeekWire

FBI Warning: Ransomware is surging – BankInfoSecurity

Locky Ransomware what you need to know – NakedSecurity

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