Just about everyone knows that viruses and malware can be catastrophic for computer users, and businesses in particular. New threats are regularly in the news. Ransomware is a particularly devastating example of the cybercriminal’s dark art. One version of this threat, known as Cryptolocker, caused widespread alarm when it first appeared. The good news is that Cryptolocker has been dealt with, after the GameOver Zeus botnet that operated it was taken down. But there are newer and more dangerous varieties out there. Cryptowall is one such threat to your computer security.
Here’s how we described Cryptolocker when it first emerged:
It’s capable of taking over your system, encrypting your files, and literally holding your data ransom in order to extort money from you. If you don’t pay, then your files are deleted… It’s the hacker’s expectation that a company infected with CryptoLocker will see the threatening red graphic take over their computer screen, panic, and then pay up. It’s obvious that CryptoLocker is attempting to use fear as a weapon because a clock counting down from 100 hours is included with the notification that your computer has been taken over. If the clock strikes 0:00, and you’ve not paid up, then your data will be wiped.
Cryptowall does all this and ups the malignancy level to new heights. Not only does it kidnap your data and threaten to destroy it, but it also takes over your computer. You probably won’t be aware of it, but it can use a computer it infect as a botnet – one link in a chain of computers that are co-opted in order to spread the ransomware even more widely. You can imagine what a fiasco it would be if your organization’s entire network became infested with Cryptowall.
You may be wondering why the criminals behind this are still operating, instead of being tracked down and stopped. The thing about ransomware is that it’s highly anonymized. It has to be as anonymous as possible so that the extortionists can use the money they get from their victims. To do this they make use of anonymous tools like the Tor network and deal financially in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. This makes them extremely difficult to catch.
Cryptowall is spread in various ways. They include spam campaigns and compromised websites that contain and distribute concealed malware. Another trick used to launch cyberattacks use is to send email attachments purporting to be invoices, receipts, reports and other authentic official documents. The ransomware concealed within is primed to execute when downloaded.
Ransomware works to threaten, and even destroy, your valuable business data. Few businesses can keep functioning effectively without their vital data, and data loss can shut operations down completely. Even if you can retrieve your data, the price will be a large financial payout. You need to protect yourself against ransomware cyberattacks, and here are three ways to do that.
Always keep your antivirus software running and update it regularly. Check that you have an effective firewall. For all-round protection and peace of mind, a Unified Threat Management Tool is the best solution available. It also includes additional features, such as content filtering so no user on a network can visit websites that may be dangerous.
Someone getting hold of your confidential data is something that’s hard to recover from completely, but at the very least, you want to be able to get it back. A BDR solution from Quikteks is designed to do this. It takes snapshots of your data several times a day and backs it up to the cloud, where it’s well protected. If you are a victim of a cyberattack then you’ll be able to restore a ‘clean’, uninfected copy of your data.
Quikteks can advise you on ways to protect yourself against ransomware and provide you with a suite of proactive security measures. To keep hackers and scammers at bay, give us a call at (973) 882-4644.
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