With all the warnings from IT consulting professionals on how companies need to protect themselves, FBI issued a statement that Cryptowall Ransomware took $18 million from victims since 2014.
Cryptowall is part of the ransomware and it encrypts files on computers and then demands a ransom in order to obtain the decryption key. Cryptowall collects its victims by either using a phishing email or getting them on website that is hosting an exploit. There have been reports from tech support services professionals that they have relied on exploiting vulnerabilities in software and applications but the most popular has been malware delivered when a user clicks on a malicious link and downloads the malware to the system.
The Cryptowall Ransomware family demands that users pay ransom in Bitcoin or other electronic payment method in order to get the decryption key and it has been big business for cybercriminals.
It has been reported by IC3 that between April 2014 and June 2015, the IC3 received 992 Cryptowall complaints and that victims have been taken for losses totaling over $18 million. Yes, $18 million!
So how do you protect yourself from Cryptowall and the entire family of Ransomware?
Your CIO, IT manager and/or IT consultant have warned you before a number times about how to fight ransomware and other cyber-schemes but we will recap some key points:
- Antivirus: It is extremely important to use and active antivirus software security suite from a reputable company. Please ensure it is configured properly to and that automatic updates are on as well.
- Firewall: This is a big sticky point businesses. Yes, you have a firewall but firewalls do expire and leave you with a large security hole. It is extremely important to have a new and up-to-date firewall in your business. Many good firewalls come with built-in security suites including Anti-Virus, Application Intelligence, Anti-Spyware and Intrusion Prevention.
- Popups: Believe it or not but popups are still used by cyber criminals to spread malicious threats. In order to avoid, it is best to prevent them from appearing in the first place. Always ensure your browser is up-to-date and that pop up blocker is being used.
- Backup: Simple rule since the being of the computer age, always back up your computer. Managed IT services providers always follow this simple practice. 1. Back up, 2. Verify Backup and 3. Maintain a backup offsite. It your get hit by ransomware, it will have a limited impact on you.
- Computer Safety 101: This is a simple one but IT professionals have to constantly remind users to not click on any emails or attachments you do not recognize and avoid suspicious websites. Create and always have a strong password and do not use the same passwords for everything.
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