Ransomware & How It Affects Me
Imagine the situation. On your computer that you’ve spent years taking and collecting photos of your friends, family, pets, cars you’ve owned and homes you’ve lived in. You’ve also spent hours editing a number of those photos plus sorting them into folders and albums. You’ve got various copies of your CV that you’ve used to apply for numerous jobs over the years, plus documents about your home, car/life insurance, health care, banks statements, credit card bills and your old school and university course work. You’ve also got the only copy in existence of the book you’ve been attempting to write and finish for the last few years.
One day you innocently open the attachment in an email you receive (from a known or unknown contact in your address book, it doesn’t matter) and boom! You’re presented with a screen that looks like the below. Your heart sinks…
“What just happened?” Is this ransomware?” “I thought my anti-virus software was up to date and was meant to stop things like this happening?”
That innocent, single press of a mouse button potentially means that all your precious memories and data are now lost forever… that is unless you’re willing to pay the ransom… which typically means buying some cryptocurrency… and for which there is no actual guarantee that if you pay the ransom that you’ll get your data back!
Then begin the thoughts of “did I backup that data anywhere else, and if so then when did I do it and where is it?”
For those of you who think you’re safe because you never open any email attachments you receive, think again! There are several cryptoworms, that having once infected a single machine on a computer network, they spread to others on the network typically by exploiting un-patched vulnerabilities in the computer’s operating systems. You might now start to think twice the next time you join a free coffee shop or hotel WIFI and sit on their open network without protection!
Imagine now that this wasn’t just your personal data, but your company laptop. Imagine one of the various (regularly reported) ransomware attacks that have hit many large enterprises over the last few years. You’re now talking about the loss of customer, supplier and employee details, intellectual property, health records, contracts, order history, all the data that allows that business to function and pay its staff and suppliers.
So, what can you do to try and protect yourself from Ransomware?
Security is about layered defence. No single product or vendor solution is going to give you 100% security, but there are several on the market that will give you an incredible amount of protection, with very little cost (compared to the lost productivity, brand destruction and “ransom”). All with very little configuration effort, minimal product updates, very little CPU and memory usage on the devices it’s installed on, and no need for an internet connection in order to work (for those times when we’re all back out in the world post-pandemic and travelling again!).
To find out more about these solutions plus how you can offer them to your customers, please get in touch with our technical or sales teams at Ignition.
Written by Paul Risk, Chief Technology Officer at Ignition Technology Ltd.