The Fine Line Between Paranoia and Behaving Responsibly
We all know that there exists some kind of computer thing that we don’t want called ransomware. We also know that there is a complicated war in Syria and that Donald Trump is the President of the USA. All of these things seem to be far away, and to only happen to other people who we don’t know.
We hear about such dramatic (and often terrible) things happening so often that most of us just have a way of dealing with it that sort of accepts it and puts it in a category marked, “can’t change it but it doesn’t affect me either”. It’s sort of a mental survival tool so that our empathy isn’t overwhelmed every time we tune into a news programme.
Our semi-conscious fears, if we chose to entertain them, are centred around the idea that one day something like the dramatic events we witness second-hand on the news, will happen in our lives.
Whilst it seems unlikely that we’re going to personally become involved in the war in Syria or that President Trump will declare war on Russia from our kitchen, it would be wise to not ignore the possibility of something like ransomware being inflicted upon us. Let’s not beat about the bush here: ransomware is not like the weather, it doesn’t just happen by itself. Ransomware is when a criminal, or more often a criminal organisation, actively makes or purchases tools explicitly for this malicious purpose and targets your computers. This is a deliberate attack, aimed at you, to try to extort money from you.
Like most blackmail or extortion, paying up is not recommended. Even if you do as asked by the criminals, the chances of getting your data back are slim and, if there is anything “interesting” in your data, the chances of you being repeatedly blackmailed with the threat of releasing of the data to the “wrong parties” is very high: The “wrong parties” could range from your spouse, your friends, a business competitor or HMRC, basically anyone that you would not want to see the data. Do not confuse these people with a stereotypical lonely teenage hacker, tapping away in his mother’s back bedroom. These are professionals: they have office buildings, management structures and pension plans. They have their business model down to an art and you do not want to be on one of their hooks.
Getting out from under this kind of situation can be next to impossible: you face permanent loss of data including your trading records, reputational damage, ongoing blackmail, the list goes on. A far better way is to just take proper precautions, not just antivirus or Windows defender, but anti-hacker-ware. Then you need not just off-site backup but a disaster recovery plan: Did you know that having a disaster recovery plan is now a legal requirement for a business?
Realistically, your computers are vital to your business and taking care of them and the data on them is not just a legal responsibility, but from a business perspective, vital. Brigantia recommends various products to tick all the boxes here and you should really pay attention before it’s too late. Be paranoid: put in all the defences that you can afford and are reasonable for the kind of data you hold. Get your business computer security in order as soon as you can and remember the Kurt Cobain quote, “Just because you’re paranoid, don’t mean they’re not after you.”
[Hashtag all the products that you want here, such as: Heimdal, BitDefender, BackupPro, Mozy, Egenera, Xterity and any others that you can think of.]
If you would like to be put in touch with a participating Brigantia partner for IT Security help and advice, then please call Brigantia on 020 3358 0090 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.