Ransomware, CryptoLocker and Data Encryption

What Is Ransomware and CryptoLocker?

This is a question that has been coming up a lot more frequently in the last few years unfortunately.  Ransomware is a type of malware that affects its victims by encrypting part of their network or data.  It’s a money-making scheme done to make sure that people aren’t able to get their data or use their network unless they pay for a decryption key.  They hold your data or network for ransom.

CryptoLocker is only the most famous version of ransomware, which has been around for decades.  It came on the scene attacking American PCs in 2013 and was actually solved  by an international effort. But successors have followed it.

The threat is that your data will start to get destroyed if you don’t pay the ransom.

How Does It Get Into Our Network?

Usually via email.  An unsuspecting person will click on a link in an email that might be made to look to be coming from a familiar source.

How Can We Protect Ourselves?

Be careful opening emails.  How great is that advice?  It’s not particularly useful, since most people and employees try at some level to be careful about opening emails that are unfamiliar and no one can be completely vigilant while at work and busy.

Making sure your firewall and network security solutions are active and working is another good step.

But by far the best way to protect yourself is to have an active, regularly-tested data back-up and network fail-over solution.  The reason this is the best solution is that if your network or data is encrypted, you have an alternative back-up you can use that remains unencrypted.