Ransomware alert: How to stop your data from being held hostage

By: In: Data Privacy & Protection On: Oct 15, 2015
Ransomware alert: How to stop your data from being held hostage

The summer of 2014 and early 2015 were rocked by a malicious brand of cyber threats simply dubbed ransomware (software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid), and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Cryptolocker, the malicious software that is thought to have extorted more than £18 million of ransom payments globally, has, to some extent, been halted by authorities, but thousands—if not millions—of ransomware programmes still exist. From Cryptolocker alone, more than 234,000 PCs were infected globally, with the United States the only country to suffer more than the UK, accounting for more than 130,000 of the victims.

And ransomware and other cyber threats are on the rise. In 2014, according to tech security company Symantec, there were 900 instances of hackers holding data hostage­–double the 2013 rate.

Given the increase of ransomware attacks, it’s important to have a data protection strategy. Malware prevention is a great place to start. Educate your employees about the many ways harmful code can, often in seemingly innocent ways, infiltrate your system and take hold of your precious records. Another helpful step is to engage a supplier with proven expertise in preventing ransomware attacks.

3 Ways to Keep Malware Off Your System

Ransomware is one of the more recent programmes hackers can unleash on your firm’s computer network while you’re busy making an honest living. Here’s how to fortify your operations against this threat:

  1. Inoculate yourself against infection. If you lack a records management policy, work with a trusted supplier to devise clear guidelines for employees handling documents and electronic data.
  1. Send your records on a road trip. What’s the best defense against a ransomware demand? The assurance of knowing that your business would still have what it needs to function, even without network access. Look for a supplier that can offer automatic file backups to remote data centers and secure storage of your paper records.
  1. Get smarter about disaster recovery procedures. In addition to ensuring access to all your documents after a disruption, you should identify the records that would be essential to your company in an emergency (such as invoices and accounts payable). Maintaining a log of vital documents can help your trusted information supplier get you the documents you need most after a ransomware attack.

Cyber criminals constantly devising new ways to profit illegally from business data. You should take every precaution to protect your company’s critical information..

Looking for more information on ransomware? Learn how to safeguard your organisation with tape backups.

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About the author

John Woolley

Head of Technical Sales at Iron Mountain John is a sales and marketing leader with over 20 years of experience within the IT industry. For the last 10 years, John has been an evangelist for data centre virtualization and data management, working to bring innovative solutions to solve real data issues. As Head of Technical Sales for Iron Mountain, John defines and drives Iron Mountain’s Cloud Data Management solutions. He also recommends and defines the strategy for Data Management products and services based on customer interactions. Prior to Iron Mountain, John held several roles as a Sales Manager and, most recently, as a Data Protection Specialist.