Be Aware of Ransomware

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Ransomware encrypts a users data in order to extort a ransom in return for the encryption key.

There’s been a worrying increase in incidences of so-called ransomware attacks. Typically these involve a trojan, delivered as an email attachment which, when opened, encrypts the user’s files so that they are inaccessible before displaying a ransom note, demanding sums ranging from hundreds to several thousand euros in return for the encryption key.

In an age where data is power, and information security is of the highest concern to businesses and their customers, it’s a particularly vicious cyber-crime, and an all too lucrative one for its practitioners. In one survey, 44% of victims said they had paid the ransom.

A particularly disturbing development has been the recent tendency of targeting hospitals and healthcare providers, whose patient data is both sensitive and vital (literally).

As an ISO27001-certified company, Blacknight is keenly aware of the importance of information security, and we’ve implemented the highest standards to protect our business, and that of our customers.

Ransomware typically targets users PCs but it can also target servers or websites. A common attack vector is a phishing-type email, purporting to be from a business partner, containing an infected attachment which the user is duped into opening. Email users should exercise extreme caution with email attachments, and check that their origin is genuine.

Security expert Brian Honan advises that the usual security hygiene precautions are effective against ransomware:

  • Keep your software patched and up to date.
  • Employ reputable anti-virus software and keep it up to date.
  • Backup your data regularly and most importantly verify that the backups have worked and you can retrieve your data.
  • Make staff and those who use your computers aware of the risks and how to work securely online.

Brian provides a detailed checklist of security precautions in this article for Help Net Security.

At Blacknight we advise customers to implement appropriate backup solutions for both their office and racked systems, and we offer a range of products to support them.

Blacknight Backup, powered by Acronis, is a scalable data protection solution designed for small and medium businesses, covering PCs, laptops and servers, and supporting Windows, Linux and MacOS. All data is secured with encryption before being backed up to Acronis Cloud Data Centres. Blacknight Backup can be used for Blacknight-hosted dedicated servers and Cloud VMs, as well as for individual PCs or servers in homes, offices or datacentres – anywhere as long as they have an internet connection.

For our website hosting plans, SiteBackup is a cost-effective and user-friendly way to maintain multiple backups of previous ‘good’ versions of your website and database.

Our sales team would be happy to discuss the various backup options on offer.

 

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