News and views from the SmartTrade crew.
In previous newsletters we warned SmartTrade’s customers about ransomware hackers who infect the computer’s operating system with malware that locks the owner out from their files. The hackers then demand a hefty payment to unlock the system, often in bitcoins that are virtually impossible to trace.
Ransomware is constantly evolving making it increasingly difficult to protect against, some 2900 new ransomware modifications were reported between January and March of this year. Recently seen ransomware such as Petya not only lock down the files but also completely remove access to the hard drives and operating systems, basically imposing full system encryption. The ransomware may sit inactive for weeks before activating, that way it also infects all the backup copies.
Unfortunately, several more of our customers have been infected.
Currently the two most prevalent ransomware malware are CBT-Locker and Teslacrypt. The CBT-Locker screen message looks like this.
What can you do to minimise the risk of being infected by ransomware?
The obvious front-line protection strategy is up-to-date anti-virus protection. Because malware is built to circumvent anti-virus protection you also need an effective backup solution. It’s also very important to train your staff not to open email attachments unless they are totally confident about the source!
One of the mistakes some small business owners make is to do their backups to a different drive on their computer system, this gives you absolutely zero protection if ransomware locks you out of your system! It’s also of zero use if your computer is stolen or a fire or other catastrophe totally destroys the computer and/or hard drives. To be absolutely safe you need to store your backups on a completely different system in a different place, in the old day’s regular backups (retentions) were copied to disks or tapes and removed offsite.
These days if you don’t want the hassle of having to do backups yourself there’s plenty of “cloud” backup services available, a quick internet search will throw up a bunch of them.
SmartTrade offers our SmartSafe backup service, the entry level service costing $ 10 plus GST per month will meet the needs of most SmartTrade users. We’ve just negotiated a deal with the 3rd party hosting service which means the following enhancements to the SmartSafe service: