Ransomware is back in the news!
Last year, the FBI in the United States, and other authorities world-wide, took down the infrastructure used to distribute CryptoLocker—thereby disrupting the effectiveness of the malware. Soon after, new breeds of ransomware were born.
This time, the targets now range from grandmother’s family photos stored on the hard-drive to smartphones and database backups. The latest incarnations of ransomware, such as CTB-Locker or Critroni are delivered via spam messages with a variety of lures to get people to click a link.
For example, the Malwarebytes blog recently detailed a spam message posing as Google Security Center warning users that their version of Chrome could be vulnerable. When users click the link they become infected with the ransomware.
Again, we’re not talking about a suspicious attachment that most users know to stay away from. That’s what makes it so easy to spread. For example, another batch of fake emails claimed to be from the IRS. And the list goes on… The latest round of ransomware, targeting individuals, companies and smartphones has a reported average ransom of 2 Bitcoins, which is approximately $500 USD.
This can be devastating to some, of course. However, paying the ransom does not even guarantee that users will regain access to their files. So what should you do? Back up your data. Take advantage of cloud storage. Keep your antivirus and antimalware software up-to-date.
With respect to smartphones and tablets we have the following suggestions:
- Protect your phone with a passcode.
- Use virus protection software.
- Be careful what you download and where you download it from. Download apps through an official app store and always read reviews.
- Keep your security software current on all devices.
- Be careful when using public Wi-Fi. Need to look something up on Yelp!? Ok. Check sale prices at your local grocery store? No problem. Do your banking or your taxes while sipping in a latte in the downtown café? Don’t even think about it.
Again, awareness and good safety practices can go a long way in protecting your data from a ransomware attack. We’ll have more to say about ransomware in the coming weeks. If you have a question about protecting your company’s data from threats such as ransomware, feel free to send us an email or give RenovoData a call!
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