These days everyone has a computer or an entire computer network to help them do their jobs. Those computers are like any other tool and should be maintained and protected regularly. And as we all know, disaster strikes when we are thinking the least about it. Just remember, when this strikes, your company will be hit with possible data loss, downtime for employees and your business, and financial losses. In many cases, companies that don’t have anything in place often just close up in the face of disaster.
Most everyone knows that you should make backups, and some folks might have even heard of the concept of disaster recovery. But recently, more scary things have been showing up on the news – crypto-locking. These attacks seem to rise alongside the value of Bitcoin and target businesses. This newest trend is where a hacker takes control over your system and encrypts the entire system. Then they will contact you and offer to unlock your system for a fee, usually paid in Bitcoins.
For most people, the idea of having to buy Bitcoins just to get your own information back is daunting. And there are no guarantees that if you pay the fee that the hackers won’t just take the money and run. We’ve seen ransoms of anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. It all depends on what the hackers think that you are worth.
Here at bMobile, we’ve ran into a handful of these cases in the last few years. It doesn’t happen that often, but if it does happen the best thing you can do is to have a plan in place and be prepared to execute it. You should also either already have an IT staff in place or a contract for an outside IT firm so you don’t have to deal with finding someone in the middle of your disaster.
Virus protection software is also a critical piece of the puzzle. It can make a huge difference running regular scans on your network. In addition, make sure you stay current on patches for your operating systems – flaws and vulnerabilities are addressed with these patches.
To start, make sure you are creating a daily backup. This backup should include all databases and files that are critical to your company’s operations. More importantly, this backup should be stored off-site, preferably in the cloud. There are several benefits to this including making sure the backup is not corrupted by the hackers as well as for disaster recovery. Not all catastrophic events are hacker related. Sometimes Mother Nature throws hurricanes, tornados, floods, and fire into the mix. We’ve seen all of these happen to our clients over the years.
Once you have a good backup in a place you can access, practice restoring it to make sure you can do so when the time comes. In the case of the crypto-locking scenario, you will be able to pinpoint that last good backup before it happened and restore your system to that point. You may wind up losing a day’s worth of work, but it is much better than the other option of paying a large sum of money that may unlock only some or most of your files and usually only after more time is lost while you wait.
When something like this occurs, it is also useful to have your IT staff figure out the point where the hackers got in. Many times it is as simple as a bogus email that has a link in it that once clicked, triggers the process the hackers use to encrypt your system.
Discuss with your staff best practices around opening suspicious emails, not visiting unapproved web sites, and being ‘cyber-aware’. These days, a little common sense and healthy skepticism can make all the difference between having your doors open for business. If you would like to discuss plans for keeping your systems safe and want to get our take on what you should be doing, please give us a call and we’ll be glad to talk to you!
Call: 1+(888) 900-5667