You may have recently heard of, or (hopefully not) been infected with, a malware by the name of CryptoWall – or one of its cousins, CryptoLocker or CryptoDefense.  If so, you should know that it is a nasty little threat to your computer, and should be taken seriously.

These forms of malware are called ransomware because they hold your data ransom, and expect you literally pay them to get it back.  Ransomware typically enters a system through a downloaded file or vulnerability in a network service.  Once inside, the malware doesn’t try to hide from users – it is very blatant about its actions.  A locker encrypts your documents using strong cryptography and demands a ransom fee for giving you the decryption key.  Even if you pay, however, there is no guarantee that you will get your data back.  Indeed, these are nasty little fellows.

One thing you need to keep in mind with ransomware and any other threats to your data: it is virtually impossible to be completely safe from all of them.  The best you can do is to proactively ensure you have all the proper policies, procedures and solutions in place to protect your data.  At the very least, you should regularly update critical software components on your computers including operating systems, browsers and all add-ons.  As well, we advise the constant use of a strong Internet Security solution, such as Norton Antivirus by Symantec.

Also of critical importance is the ability to restore your data after any potential disaster.  Whether you are affected by a virus, theft or a disaster such as a flood or fire, it is imperative that you follow a rigorous backup and recovery plan so that you have the ability to quickly and easily restore any lost or compromised data.

If you have questions or concerns about the safety and security of your data, don’t hesitate to give us a call.  It’s what we do.