Server backups are important. You know it. We know it. But when considering why your business needs to make frequent, effective backups the thought of organized crime usually doesnâ€™t enter the equation.
No, weâ€™re not talking Sopranos bust-your-kneecaps style organized crime. Your server backups arenâ€™t going to stop horse heads turning up between the sheets or a hitman waiting for you outside an Italian restaurant.
What a good server backup will do is save your business from the digital protection racket that funds criminal entities globally. Today, weâ€™re talking ransomware.
What is ransomware?
Ransonware is a form of malicious software (malware) designed to infect your system and prevent you from accessing anything until you pay the piper (piper in this instance being a sleazy criminal).
Most commonly, this is done using encryption â€“ the ransomware will simply encrypt all of your files, folders and applications so that you canâ€™t open anything without entering an encryption key.Â Â Cryptolocker is perhaps the most notorious encryption-based ransomware floating around the seedy underside of the internet in recent years.
Other forms of ransomware have been known to simply block access to important data by popping up pornographic images or fake windows error messages in front of everything until the ransom is paid.
Regardless of what form of ransomware your company is hit with you have two choices:
- Pay the criminals and fund further criminal operations, hoping that theyâ€™ll be honest enough to unlock your systems once you do, or;
- Nuke the entire system and recover from server backups to a point before the ransomware infected the system.
If you donâ€™t have decent server backups, youâ€™re down to one option.
But how could ransomware hit MY company?
Every company thinks theyâ€™re immune. Youâ€™re too small to be targeted by crime gangs, right? Or youâ€™re too large and your security systems are too advanced, correct? Â Wrong in both cases. Â Companies of all shapes and sizes have been hit with ransomware.
The most common form of infection is due to a combination of good olâ€™ fashioned email phishing and employees who arenâ€™t sufficiently tech-savvy. The criminal organizations will simply send out a legitimate looking email with a malicious attachment (your company account is overdue, please find latest invoice attached, for example).
Poor old Terry, the new intern in accounting, doesnâ€™t want to get in trouble for forgetting to pay something important. He also doesnâ€™t know the difference between a .pdf and a .exe file, so he hurriedly opens the file to see whatâ€™s owed.
And now you have Cryptolocker in your system. Server backups, anyone?
How can I use server backups to beat the bad guys?
As mentioned above, essentially the only way to overcome most ransomware is to recover your entire system from a backup.Â But unfortunately, not just any old backup will do.Â Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s crucial your business accounts for the possibility of ransomware into your server backup strategy.
If your backup strategy involves simply replicating your systems and data offsite, then your backup software will happily replicate the ransomware along with the files.Â Thereâ€™s no worse feeling than going to restore a backup and finding thatâ€™s encrypted too.
Â Instead, what you need to be doing is using software like BackupAssist to back up your data and create recovery media for those backups.
Creating ransomware-proof server backups is not only a responsibility to your effective business continuity, itâ€™s an obligation you owe to the rest of global society.Â When your business pays off a ransomware demand, youâ€™re directly funding criminal organizations.
The efficacy of your server backups, could quite literally help to take down global organized crime syndicates.Â Or at least limit their revenue streams.Â Food for thought.
Share this article and help defeat the digital mobsters.