Ransomeware, Malware, Virus and Phishing.
These are 4 word that we have heard over the last 10 years and as Time goes on that industry is growing stronger to the point where they are business where they have teams of employed people negotiating with us the victims of these attacks.
I have been in the IT industry for many years and have had the painful experience of having to try and recover lost data for a few clients after there data was encrypted of deleted. Some of these even had virus programs installed and believe that they had sufficient protection.
Understanding that a companies data is vital to any business and it that data is lost for any reason could and in most cases will result in a business closing down.
Like wise any home computer is just as vulnerable as how many of us have all our family photo and all our personal documents ID data on them and how many of us have these backed up.
Living in South Africa our business have to cater for 4 main ways of loosing your data.
As the South African economy is not function as normal 1st world countries where the unemployment is somewhere around 50 % , yes that is right 50 %, we have to deal with have to deal with another level of data loss been theft of your hardware, Hard drives and computer's notebooks printers etc been stolen for the purpose of the perpetrator to try and raise money to feed there families.
In a 1st world country you have to worry about ransomware which is a type of malicious software designed to block access to your data and computer system until a sum of money is paid into an untraceable bitcoin account.
1 of my clients that was attacked with ransomware and all there computers documents, PDF, photo, videos spreadsheet basic all the files you need to run there business was encrypted.
This was a few years ago and even the external back up drive which they had forgotten to disconnect from the network over a weekend. In the message that they left on the screen there was an email address that we could send email notification to once the 4 bitcoin had to be paid by with an escalation to 6 bit coin after 24 hours.
We sent an email to try and appeal to them to ask them to please consider that things were really difficult in South Africa and that the company was an none profit organization and did not have that kind of capital to pay out.
To our surprise we received a response from them say that they would give us a discount o pay 2 bitcoin.
We continued a sending mails trying to get them to give us the key as we continued to explain the situation of the company and the person responded and said he would need to speak to his boss to see if he would make any changes. That is when we realized that this is businesses where people are employed to steal your data.
These are business setup in parts of the world that they can get away with this.
Then malware is software that is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system. You can get this in various ways ie downloaded software application and included in these application they hide an addition application that installs itself onto your computer and stays there with out you knowing about it.
To prevent these kind of attacks you need to have a good Antivrus program installed.
Another way these individuals try and force money payments out of us would be the fraudulent practice of Phishing which is by sending emails pretending to be from reputable companies in order to trick people to revealing personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
These normally come into your email account and you by looking at this email you would know that it is a fake email that someone is try to gain access to your data and all they want is that you click on a link or something in the mail which take you to a fake website or in some case installs something on your computer which enables them to collect all personal details.
They have other advanced ways of redirecting traffic and scanning the packets to obtain information that they can intercept and change the banking details of invoices and forward the invoice onto the correct person and that person pays the invoice un beknown that they are paying the amount into the wrong bank account.
We have seen this happen a few occasions and they were large amount that had to be paid and some times this is found out only after few days when follow up to find out where your products are only to find out that you have not paid your supplier and that is why they have not shipped the products.
Any which way you look at it these have all become big businesses.
We find that these attacks are getting more and more advanced where countries ie China, Russia, North Korea and syndicates have teams of individuals trying to cyber attack other countries to try and gain access to our data.
We have to take the necessary precortions to protect our data both personal and businessand it does not have to cost an arm and a leg.
The one misconception that is out there is that the built in Antivirus is good enough to protect our data if that was the case why are so many attacks getting through.
As a result of these attacks there are many legitimate business that are making good money to try and protect your data through various means ie Antivirus company, Malware companies, Firewall companies. All of which has become a vital part of any business that wants to protect there data.
In summary how do we protect our data
You need a good Antivirus software application like AVG, Avast, ESET or Bitdefender these are the ones that I have used and recommend I have been able to protect many clients over the years against Virus attacks and Phishing attacks
You need to protect form Malware attacks and this we have been very successful with Malwarebytes.
You need a good VPN( virtual private network) connector software To all you to access the internet in total privacy and security. Don't use the free VPN's nothing is free for a reason no matter what they say. I would recommend NordVPN the price is right and they are really good.
Additionally I would recommend a good back solution to back up your data this way you are able to protect yourself against any form of attack.
This should be the standard practice of any business now days to be able to protect yourselves against data loss.