In recent times, cyber-criminals have targeted email users by sending them emails with a payload that silently encrypts their data – rendering it unreadable and unusable – this payload is known as crypto-ransomware. Once the data is encrypted (with a super-secure encryption program), they demand that the owners of the data must pay a ransom – usually in BitCoin and in the thousands of $$$ – to have their data un-encrypted and back to being usable again. In many cases the victims are left with no choice other than to pay the ransom, because they have no reliable backup system that can be used to restore the data.
Cyber-crime is no longer in the domain of the backyard hacker, sitting up in all hours of the night, hacking systems randomly. Cyber-crime is a very lucrative, sophisticated, high-tech industry, run by large corporations that employ the best hackers, and it occurs mostly in countries where cyber-crime isn’t illegal, or at least, isn’t policed. Likewise, the protection against it needs to be sophisticated, high-tech and up-to-date.
So… What can we do to minimise the chances of becoming a victim of crypto-ransomware?
1 – Use an effective data backup solution that takes daily – even hourly – backups of your data. It can then be restored if needed.
2 – Implement a cloud-based email scanning solution that scans all incoming mail for your organisation BEFORE it even gets into your mailbox – 90+ percent of crypto-viruses are delivered by email. Examples are Manage Protect, and MailGuard.
3 – Educate your users in the tell-tale signs that emails might contain payloads that are dangerous. For example, emails with ZIP files attached are very dangerous – do not click on them!
4 – Employ current, state of the art anti-virus and anti-malware software that can stop these encryption programs in their tracks – examples are Webroot, and Malwarebytes.
For more information about combatting cyber-crime, contact All Computer Services on 07 5456 1184 or log a service request from