What is it?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. In essence, ransomware is a virus that is sent out by hackers. The virus can be sent out in a few different ways but the most common is via email. Someone will receive an email along with an attachment. Once that attachment is open, it releases the virus which then infects your computer or network, encrypting all your files. The user will soon notice a pop-up screen or a small text file in each folder with the ransom note giving instruction on how to recover all of the data that is being held.



How Serious is it?

According to an article by CNN Tech, “The first known ransomware attack, dubbed AIDS Trojan, happened in 1989, according to Symantec. The payment demanded was $189.” This of course would be considered pennies to the amounts that others have been taken for. Hundreds, thousands, and attempts of even a million have been paid. Like most Americans, it is safe to say that we do not have millions stashed away for a rainy day. So why risk it and take the chance of this happening to you or your business.

In a quote from Michael Gazeley, managing director of cybersecurity firm Network Box, “It’s only going to get worse and worse and worse…” “And it’s absurd because companies have had years to prepare for this.” “The way ransomware is spread now, it’s so efficient, it’s so effective, it’s sort of — to quote an ironic phrase — going viral…”



What Featherston Media does to prepare for Ransomware?

At Featherston Media, we want our clients to feel safe when they save anything to their devices or network. We have developed an ecosystem of services to help bring a secure environment for all your data and devices.

  • Antivirus: Not all antivirus will protect you from ransomware. We use a specialized antivirus software that deploys a “ransomeware vaccine” on all your computer which looks for known threats. If a new threat ever comes out, our software will detect it and send the update to all other machines. This process may take up to 3 hours worldwide.
  • Content (DNS) Filtering: The best way to block malware is to stop it before it gets in. By using DNS filtering, we block traffic going to the sites that are known to have harmful content. We have a database of over 1 million websites that are uniquely categorized.
  • Backups: Backups are vital to the redundancy of your data. No system or network is 100% in-penetrable, so you need to be prepared. We provide and run real-time and nightly backups concurrently so that you never loose any data in the event of an attack. However, a backup is only good if all the data is complete. We run routine consistency checks to verify that all data is being backed up and will restore without a problem.
    • What a backup is not.
      • A backup is not a hard drive that you copy data to at night and take it home with you. This is something we see quite often as a way to lower backup cost. Running consistency checks on data takes time. If your hard drive is only plugged in a few hours a day, that can happen. When you need your data to be restored, it will likely be incomplete. 
      • A backup is not a local hard drive or NAS (network-attached-storage) that you copy data to every night. This will not protect you against a fire and it will not protect your backup from being compromised by ransomeware. Early 2017, the WannaCry ransomeware compromised over 200,000 machines. This was a result of some leaked intelligence about an SMB (Server-Message-Block) flaw. SMB is what most backup software will use in this scenario. 
      • A backup is not you going to your server or NAS at the end of every day, taking the hard drives out, and putting them in a fire proof safe. 29% of hard drive failures are caused by accident. (https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/04/not-prepared-for-data-loss.html) You are most likely using a standard rotating hard drive for backups so moving them around every day puts you at risk of damage. 
  • Monitoring: Knowing what is going on in your network is one of the most important resources you can have in tracking down issues before they happen. We actively monitor for threats and unusual activity across all our networks. We also monitor for machines that have been infected so we can act quickly in the event of an attack.



Featherston Media does not take the handling of your data lightly. Some studies show that 58% of small businesses are not prepared for data loss. (https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/04/not-prepared-for-data-loss.html) 60% of small businesses feel that if they loose their data they will shutdown within 6 months.

Featherston Media has live agents standing by to handle any IT requirements your company may have. Allow our customer driven technical team to schedule your network evaluation today. Please do not hesitate when it comes to your network security.

2017-07-11T21:44:55+00:00 July 11th, 2017|IT|0 Comments