Ever since the Internet became a household commodity, many viruses and malware have donned a social mask; causing harm to computers and data but doing so by deceiving the user. One form of this is ransomware, a type of malware that locks users out of their computer until they pay a toll (or maybe go out of business).
Viruses, malware, and most other online scams are tricky. In order to be effective, they need to instill action-driving fear in order to infiltrate a system. That's why so much malware these days comes in looking like a legitimate virus scanner, telling you there are urgent issues with your PC and informing you that the only way to fix these 'issues' is by paying them money.This has been very common over the past few years - fake antiviruses are some of the most annoying instances of malware that technicians need to deal with on a regular basis. The latest trend, however, doesn't even pretend to be innocent. This type of malware will simply take over your PC and demand payment to relinquish control. Think of the old mobster flicks where ransom notes were written with demands like bringing unmarked bills to the old port on the south side of town.
Several months ago we received a call from an occasional client that would call only when something was broken and needed to be fixed. A member of their staff had visited a normal website in the course of doing some business research. The website itself, or an embedded advertisement had been hacked by Yugoslavian organized crime group and simply by opening the webpage, their entire business data network was suddenly under attack. She reported that a pop-up note appeared on her screen explaining that the data had been encrypted with a lock and they would provide the key for $175 US Dollars. We checked the server and sure enough, every Word document, Excel spreadsheet and Adobe PDF file had been locked with encryption and was now impossible to open. This is why it's called Ransomware and it's a real threat to your business. We advised them not to pay the ransom, since it was unlikely they'd get the key to unlock the data. They'd just be out another $175. Fortunately for this business, they had a good backup from the night before and we were able to recover everything from that point in time. But the network itself was essentially unmanaged. No one was checking backups, no one was updating the systems with security patches, and there was no security firewall scanning the network for attacks.
The larger lesson in this example is the critical need to properly manage your business network and protect your most important business asset - your data. Are you doing this work yourself? Are you outsourcing this to a reputable IT services firm, or is it just an IT guy that comes in once in awhile? Does your IT manager have the proper tool-set and time to monitor and track this work correctly? If you're not sure about the answers, let us help you find out. We urge users who experience strange activity on their computer to contact us at 360-528-6017 - if your computer reports issues or viruses and asks you to pay to remove them, it is likely a scam. Ensuring that you are using updated software like the latest web browser, windows updates, and an updated licensed antivirus will go a long way to protect your most valuable business asset - your data. We're here to help.
Todd Whitley has not set their biography yet
Welcome to Our New Site! We are proud to announce the unveiling of our new website at BrightWire Networks!
Learn more about what BrightWire Networks can do for your business.
Call us today 360-528-6017
7511 Terminal St. SW Suite 201Olympia, Washington 98501