It’s the dark times of Ransomware – so how do you stay safe with the epidemic breaking out each month?

Remember, remember the fifth of November

Gunpowder, treason and plot

I see no reason why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot

 

Remember, remember…May 12th and June 28th? Well, the people will surely remember the unparalleled ransomware outbreaks that hit critical infrastructures and disrupted production processes worldwide on those dates. And similar to the people behind the infamous “Gunpowder Plot”, there is reasonable doubt whether the recent attackers were in it for the money.

While it’s a good thing, that it’s not easy to find someone who doesn’t know what ransomware is these days, the research shows that people learn what it is for one of three reasons: heard of major outbreak in the news; were hit themselves or personally know someone who was hit.

 

Are you being targeted? Oh yes, you are.

You don’t have to have millions of dollars in the bank or own a huge business to become a target. As long as you own a computer with personal files stored on it – you’re vulnerable. And remember that according to the latest global statistics, an individual is now attacked every 10 seconds, a business – every 40 seconds. So how long do you think it will take them to get to you? Wouldn’t you want to be prepared when they do?

Yes, it’s true, not all cyber criminals are after your money – some of them just want to cause disruption to your business, which is believed to be the main motive for the most recent Petya ransomware attack. Hunting via email, social media and forged websites, searching out for users that don’t install the latest updates, selling your personal info on the black market – ransomware is growing into a deeply criminalized underground industry. And there are no safeguards to help you out anymore.

You have to be paying attention to the links you open and to the addresses you get emails from ALL the time. You have to install the latest OS updates and patches, you must never open an attachment from an unchecked source, and for crying out loud, you must do backup.

 

Ways and means to protect yourself

“I won’t open any suspicious emails or links – would that be enough?” Sorry, no.

Because then you’d still have no mechanism to restore your data in case you do lose it. The main trick here is in protecting your data against ransomware in all its forms, by utilizing the technology that allows not only ransomware detection, but also automated restoration of any ransomware-encrypted data after the attack.

Most anti-ransomware solutions can only detect ransomware. Several of them stop it, though only the very few have the capacity to fully restore your encrypted files from backup (when others do it, the capacity is limited to the available cache size). But the Acronis backup solutions with built-in Acronis Active Protection™ are designed to do just that — backup and restore data without any limitation.

 

What does the Acronis anti-ransomware solution do?

Acronis Active Protection is an advanced ransomware protection technology, a key part of Acronis True Image and Acronis Backup 12.5 (currently available as a Windows-only feature, Mac version already under development). It extends the functionality of backup by actively defending business data and protecting backup copies that ransomware tries to destroy.

It constantly looks for patterns in how data files are being changed on a computer. One set of behaviors may be typical and expected. Another set of behaviors may signal a suspect process taking hostile action against files. Acronis Active Protection stops the malicious behavior and instantly restores any ransomware-encrypted files, helping businesses to avoid restoring backups and enjoy significantly reduced Recovery Point and Recovery Time Objectives (RPO and RTOs).

 

The Year of Ransomware: WannaCry and Petya Attacks of 2017

So, what did we learn from these alarming incidents, that are now starting to become our reality? We learned that traditional data security solutions are incapable of protecting devices against zero-day cyber attacks. Cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to infect computers, and WannaCry and Petya are clear examples of what is about to come. Backup is the only reliable way to restore affected data, but you need to ensure that backup files are also protected from such attacks.

  1. Use up-to-date software. The WannaCry attack could’ve been prevented had the users installed the latest Microsoft update which fixed the particular vulnerability that those hackers went after. Petya was a far more devious creation, attacking the patched computers as well. Still, always pay extra attention to OS updates.

 

  1. Regular backup is a MUST. While the updates protect you from a particular rising threat, a regularly performed backup is your defense against anything trifling with your data. Be sure to follow the 3-2-1 rule: have at least 3 copies of your data, 2 of which are local, but on different devices and at least 1 copy offsite.

 

  1. And remember to deploy endpoint protection software with advanced technologies, like Exploit Prevention to prevent and shield your data from any malicious activities.

 




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