Fight Ransomware with Backup

Fight Ransomware with Backup

One of the nastiest types of malware is ransomware.  Its objective is to invade your computer, prevent you from accessing your information and to hold it hostage until the money being demanded is paid.

You can, however, thwart and neutralize the major effect of a ransomware attack by maintaining a complete and functional backup of your computer records.  This applies to individuals and businesses.

Why Is Backup a Necessity?

Hardware will fail and malware attacks are growing.

You or your organization is totally vulnerable if it’s without a functional backup of vital computer records.  Your information system must be protected and capable of being quickly restored.

Billions of dollars are being lost each year due to ransomware.  Backup is clearly a necessity.  You must provide it.  Otherwise, you set yourself up to be a victim and left to pay the ransom in hope that the cybercriminal gives you the key to unlock your data.

The only other option you have is to permanently lose access to your information and start all over again.

How Do You Create Backup? 

The point has been made that you must be in the position to restore your data.  Both the Apple and Window’s operating systems have features you can use for backup.  You can use the backup features for your particular system.  That’s a partial strategy.

Other considerations include the need to be sure that you are creating a clean backup (one free of malware).  You could, otherwise, be restoring an information set that is infected.  The ultimate backup plan would, also, include maintaining multiple copies with at least one should being kept in a different location.

Once you have made provisions for creating a clean, thorough and reliable backup you should be able to restore your locked-up records that have been ransomed.

SPECIAL NOTE:  The author strongly recommends that you contact the publisher of your computer’s operating system and tell them that you want to do a full backup of your computer’s information as a defensive measure against malware.  Ask for the manufacturer’s suggestions.  Follow the recommendations for your particular model, the version of the operating system and your system’s capacity.

Listed below are two videos which will provide you with additional information on how to access and perform a backup for both the PC and Apple:

Video on how to backup your PC

Video on how to backup your Mac

What Would We Recommend for Backup?

We recommend that you consider a relatively easy tool as part of your backup plan.  That is to use external hard drives which are removable.

Shown below are two options.  I use the Western Digital removable external hard drives which can be removed.

Western Digital’s 4 Terabyte External Hard Drive

Western Digital’s 8 Terabyte External Hard Drive

How about the Cloud, a Network Area Storage Device or Tape Backup?

The publisher of the Computer Security Journal is focused on exploring an efficient and cost effective way to backup your information.  We want to be able to recommend methods that represent a solid defense against ransomware.  There is an ugly truth, however.

You are basically wasting your time if your backup is already infected with ransomware.  The malware that is on the original hard drive would likely be duplicated, too!  So what is the solution?

Backing up your entire hard drive to the cloud may solve the problem – depending upon the cloud storage provider’s services or whether the latest backup in the cloud is free of the ransomware that is on your computer.

Another option is to purchase and use a tape drive.  Tape drives are a much older technology but a modern day product that might be an excellent solution because infecting tape with malware is a bigger challenge for cybercriminals.

Another option is to use what is known as an NAS (Network Attached Storage).  These devices are much more expensive but may be a solution you want to consider.

Fighting Ransomware – A Summary

We strongly recommend the following to defend against ransomware:

1.)  Install and use a good malware program on your system

2.)  Create multiple copies of the information contained on your computer

3.)  Avoid keeping your backup media and device “connected” to the network or Internet

4.)  Keep a full-blown copy of your backup in a location that is separate from your computer

5.)  Follow the best practices associated with computer security

6.)  Establish a backup strategy to include restoration of data and test it.

We will continue to research  the topic of backup.  It’s extremely important and one that you must get right.  Please check back with us and watch for follow-up posts on the topic.

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