Security Tips.

Authorities warn of the rise of ransomware and cryptoviruses in 2016.

Hackers can hold your data hostage by encrypting your files with a private key that they only know. They then ask for money, $200 – $500 in debit cards or bitcoin.  If you fail to pay, you will never get your encrypted data back.

How can you mitigate this attack? Get in the habit of doing a series of backups at diferent times and for different periods of time. Hackers usually start working on a target (you) days or months before the attack occurs. Just like with a kidnapping, even if you pay the money, sometimes the hackers will not provide the key to restore your data. There are no warranties in a ransomware attack.

Some antivirus products may work to protect your information, but there are many different versions of this type of malware.  Your antivirus may protect against one type but not another. Once you have been attacked, there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to get your computer or mobile device completely clean.  This leaves the door open for an attack in the future from a hidden malware.

These types of attack can occur on computers, mobile devices, smart TVs, virtually anything that can connect to the Internet. If you suspect that you may be a victim, disconnect the device from the internet and call the police.

More tips to protect your devices from these attacks:

  • Backup regularly and keep a recent backup copy off-site.
  • Don’t ever enable macros in document attachments received via email.
  • Be cautious about unsolicited attachments.  Don’t open attachments unless you truly know the source.
  • Be cautious of “official” emails– phishing attacks often masquerade as official bank, software, government or other companies’ emails.  Be suspicious and check the address.
  • Don’t give yourself more login power than you need. Don’t remain logged in as an administrator unless absolutely necessary.
  • Consider installing the Microsoft Office viewers. These viewer applications let you see what documents look like without opening them in Word or Excel itself. In particular, the viewer software doesn’t support macros at all, so you can’t enable macros by mistake!
  • Patch early, patch often. Sytstem updates are very important for all of your software, even seemingly innocuous applications like Adobe reader.

–ItGresa Cyber security