Ransomware – Only One Real Solution

Do NOT Be Lulled Into Complacency

You are defenseless against Ransomware. Really. Too direct? Sorry. How about this. If you own a small business, you are probably going to be hit with Ransomeware, and all your files will be encrypted…period. That’s it. 100% true today and into the foreseeable future. I am as certain of this as flu season. The Denver Broncos will trade Von Miller and Demarcus Ware to get Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall back together for bff counseling before Ransomware is stopped.

You’ve read about Ransomware…and the stories are at least somewhat interesting – you know, SCHOOL PAYS RANSOM, HOSPITAL PAYS RANSOM, SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT PAYS RANSOM, etc, etc. I could find links to document all these assertions, but you already know this. So back to my original claim…you are defenseless. Sooner or later, in a launch time of less than 10 seconds, you’re files are all locked up. ALL OF THEM. Got a server? Network drive? The files there are locked, too.

And there’s more. You WON’T be able to un-encrypt them. Nor will ANY of the high-end software / rescue / antivirus / law-enforcement / I’ll make some calls /specialists…none of them have the corresponding encryption key that YOU MUST HAVE in order to rescue your files. Only the bad-guys have that, and if you pay the ransom, they MIGHT send you the key to straighten things out…MAYBE. Uh-huh. Demarcus Ware for Jay Cutler. Could happen, though.

Why? Because all it takes is for an employee to click on an email attachment…the wrong attachment. Or visit the wrong Website…that never happens, right?

OK. Ok. Why does Ransomware continue to be a problem? Simple…money. Really good programmers are motivated to write code for (wait for it) MONEY. YOUR MONEY. And while a lot of times, the ransom isn’t paid, the problem is that a lot of times it IS PAID. So do the math. More attacks means more victims…means more money. And the incentive to continue to write more sophisticated code to extract more money intensifies. And it is a BIG money industry. It’s not stopping soon, and there is even reason to believe it is “sponsored” by a handful of rogue countries that “look the other way” regarding the activities.

SO what CAN you do? There is ONE REMEDY and ONE ONLY. Produce file backups of everything you want to safeguard…EVERY DAY…and DO NOT STORE THESE BACKUPS ON ANY DEVICE ON YOUR NETWORK – REMOVE THEM SO THEY CANNOT BE ATTACKED.

When you ARE attacked and compromised, delete the ransomware and the ransomed files and RETURN your files from your latest BACKUP. Inconvenient? A little. But FAR FAR better than trying to restore files from paper…or worse…from memory. Won’t happen to you? Your IT guys have your back? Perhaps. But I’d check if I were you. Because to date, there is no Firewall, no software, no IT guy that can even come close to guaranteeing that your best employee won’t be working on a Saturday…trying to go the extra mile…and accidentally click on that file marked “INVOICE” from a known supplier. Boom. ZAP. You’ll be stunned when you get that phone call…that you REALLY don’t want.

I’ve been in the IT field since before there was an IT field, and I cannot stress this enough…PROTECT YOURSELF FROM RANSOMWARE BY HAVING VIABLE OFF-LINE BACKUPS. If you are unsure about this, call me, email, or comment. I’m happy to help.