Ransmware, Crypto Virus and educating your users

Ransomware, so you think it’s a joke?

“Never before have so few, stole so much, from so many that the many fail to see a problem!”

Ransmware, Crypto Virus and educating your users

Ransomware, Crypto Virus and educating your users

I got a phone call from a mate the other day wanting some advice.

My mate is attached to a not for profit organisation that has a number of self-managed branches all over Australia.

His question was “what do you know about ransomware?”   

My immediate response to that was “why, it hasn’t happened to you, has it?”

It turns out that one of the branches of his NFP organisation had been targeted through a phishing email and one of the volunteers had opened it.   Not realising what they had done, it had also been left to encrypt over the weekend.   ALL of their data was now encrypted.

My first response – restore from backup, clean the virus or better still rebuild the infected computer, and educate the users.   In that order!

I knew a forensic investigation was not going to tell us much!

But, wait there is more!

No we did not have end point protection installed on any computers or servers and when the incumbent IT Company (WTF) looked at the backup, they had not had a successful backup since 3 1/2 weeks prior.

The incumbent and external IT Company had not been seen on site in more than 12 months.    There was no reporting, no management and no proactivity.

All they had was a help desk and when that was needed it all turned to crud.

This scenario happens every minute of every day.

Often, we do not see the problems that the digital world creates, so like the ostrich, we hide from the repercussions in the hope that it will not happen to us.

This really is a bad attitude, both as an individual, but more importantly as an organisation.

No one is immune, there is no vaccine, everyone can be targeted and more importantly, being attached to the internet, everyone is.

The criminals are persistent, uncaring and, although we do not give them credit, most importantly clever.   They patiently wait for anyone and everyone to make a mistake and they capitalise on that mistake.

Just think of this – if we had no important data worth stealing (or encrypting) then ransomware would not be a 5 billion dollar industry.

The most important things to do – personally and as a business:

  • Trust no one
  • Be paranoid
  • Use common sense
  • Have a tested backup
  • Use antivirus
  • Get a decent firewall
  • Patch it all
  • Education
  • Audit and report

Try this little experiment – how long can you use a new computer before you realise that you need access to some old information.   If it’s not very long then you need to protect yourself from ransomware.

In addition I sent them this link – to see how mature their organisation is and it was completed by the IT person and they got a 1.7.   If it was at this maturity level, they would not have had the significant problem that they had.

I guarantee that if it was completed by management or a member of the board they would have got below 0.5.

Try it and see! http://business-security.com.au/go/audit/

Roger Smith is the CEO of R & I ICT Consulting Services, Lecturer at ADFA (UNSW – Australian Centre of Cybersecurity), Amazon #1 selling author on Cybercrime, author of the Digital Security Toolbox and the SME Digital Security Framework.   Rapid Restart Appliance Creator.   He is a Speaker, Author, Teacher and Educator on cybercrime and how to protect yourself from the digital world. 

Crypto Virus and educating your users

Any cyber attack can have serious implications for your business.

Before you say, that wouldn’t happen to us! Let me explain.

From a simple malware infection to a full blown DDOS attack the results on your business can be devastating.

The newest attack weapon of the digital criminal is crypto virus. If you get it, you had better have some serious protective strategies in place.

Crypto virus can be and is delivered to your business through an email, from an infected web site, from a dropped USB drive or by one of your staff members making a silly little mistake. Any of them can severely damage your organisations ability to make money.

But we have anti virus! We have a firewall!

So does everyone else.

So did most of the victims!

Most of the businesses who have been compromised by crypto virus have some type of protection. They had end point protection, they had firewalls, they had the newest systems and they were prepared because “we put it in 12 months ago”.

What they lack is insight!

What they lack is education.

Removing the lackadaisical attitude of “it wont happen to me” is very important. To do that we all have to learn a new paradigm.

We have to learn three things:

* Trust no one
* Be paranoid
* Be aware.

Managers, board members, owners have a responsibility to their business to protect it the best they can. That in itself is a hard thing to do. What it means is that you have to change the way you think.

If you don’t know the issues you can never implement the right solutions.

Your first step is your own education.

That is where we come in.

Implementing a new paradigm, means we have to learn something new. Learn something about it.

To learn something you have to come and see me. I will show you how the bad guys work.

I will show you how malicious software (virus, worm, Trojan, compromise) attacks your business, removes information and destroys the evidence. I will show you why you need to get educated and from that educate your staff.

This is an important subject.