Ransomware and Crypto Threat

We have spent the last week attending webinars and security classes to get up to speed on this latest threat.

The new Ransomware crypto is a nightmare for all IT professionals. From the local outsourced IT's like PC Pitstop to the full blown IT security departments at Microsoft. The threat is real and is not a scare tactic. It is a real threat that compromises us all. In this month alone June 2016 we have seen 14 walk in clients and 1 business client hit with this.



These Cyber terrorists are after one thing only, MONEY. They have no morals or sympathy for you if they get your data, you are done. They require a minimum 1 Bitcoin (Currently each bit coin is $700.00 at the time of making this post) and upwards. One client was hit with 100 bit coins to get their data.

PC PITSTOP stands firm that we will not help a client pay or encourage a client to pay this ransom. By doing so you are encouraging them to continue their tirade.

This is spreading like wild fire, from hacking servers and executing crypto programs to emails you receive that seem official but the attachment is a malware that instantly attacks your machines. 

There is very little hope when these things attack to getting your data back. Some of these are so advanced that they even attack your attached data backups encrypting even your achieve of backups.

Ok if you have not even felt any sort of "oh no" moment while reading this, then I have failed to emphasize the seriousness of this threat. Think of everything you keep on your PC. Tax returns, documents, accounting, inventory, school projects, photos, emails. Imagine the next time you turn on your PC and unable to access anything. Absolutely NOTHING. What then? Try system restore? That didn't work.. Ok explorer shadow volume.. that didn't work because the crypto deleted all those. I have a backup I can use that... Wrong again.. the latest threat as soon as it detects and USB storage device attached it encrypts the entire drive. Now what???? Now you have lost all current data PLUS your backups.

There is only ONE solution once your PC has been hit. Pull the drive, install a new drive, install your operating system, all of your software, then attach your data backup and restore your data.

Why a new drive? Because there is always a slight chance that someone someday may come out with a fix for it. Usually a year or two afterwards.

So what is the best solution? If you are an individual and NOT a business the option above is your best route. Limited down time and not going to break the bank. But please make sure you are backing up your data at least once a month. Use a portable hard drive. NO NOT the kind that require a power outlet those fail all the time. Just a Portable USB external drive.

Now for the business clients:

Everything that makes your business tic is on your computers and servers. In years past a DATA backup plan seemed all you would need to get by in case something happened. NOT ANYMORE, you have a false sense of security if you think you are covered from crypto ransomeware by the simple backup plan.

A simple backup plan is: A backup runs every night; it stores it on at least two different Medias usually an external drive and a network drive. In years past this was enough to recover from a system failure. Not now, now those are all encrypted, data is gone. What would you do besides blaming your computer guy that all of you AR is now gone. Would you pay the ransom? What would you do if they didn't return your data?

Businesses need a solid disaster recovery now more than ever, backup plans are not enough. Every client that we have we has alerted to this threat and how REAL it is, unfortunately one client found out first hand.

In a perfect world you can protect yourself and your business by simply not using the Internet. No Emails, no browsing and no social media. But that is simply NOT realistic at all. So what do you do? Your company needs to Invest in disaster recovery. Many companies do not invest in it because of the costs associated. Typically a business disaster recovery plan with hardware starts at $5,000 a year for a simple plan and up depending on needs and how automated you want the process. If you can remember daily to manually take care of your data you can save a lot of money.  Is your company worth the investment? That's something only you can decide.

We at PC Pitstop are serious about protecting our clients and there data. From crypto prevention software and security GPO to disaster recovery plans and testing. We had one of our clients hit; they could not recover due to only having a backup plan which in the past was enough. We spent countless hours trying to help recover but to no avail. We are stressing to all our clients, a disaster recovery plan is a must. 

Our customized security software suite does protect against any currently known threats, we offer this to business and home users alike. Disaster recovery plans we only offer to our business clients.

If you would like more information or have any questions please call 360-813-3350