Encryption Based Viruses: devastation lurking in the shadows

Technology issues occur all the time, failing hardware, incompatible software and networking issues can cause losses to productivity. While these issues are a nuisance and can sometimes be costly to remedy, there are greater threats at play. Among the most devastating hacker attacks I have encountered is one that is so simple yet alarmingly effective, the ransomware-trojan using RSA encryption.

What is that? The thirty-thousand-foot view: A virus that targets your work files, locks them with an encryption algorithm that is unbreakable*, and then the attacker bends you over the apple barrel for the key.

The underlying virus is simple and relatively easy to remove, but the greater issue is that your files have now been encrypted and the only way to decrypt them is to negotiate a price for the key. The FBI has staunchly recommended against this because we have no clue where that money is going, what its being used for and, most importantly, it encourages this behavior in the first place.

The best method for dealing with these attacks is multipronged. Securing your network at the edge, implementing strong internal controls at the workstation level, sanitizing email before it arrives at your mailbox are all great starting points. That being said, the only ironclad method to ensure you do not lose your invaluable work is to have a BACKUP.

Backups are the most boring, snooze-worthy discussions I have with my clients. The value-add for a backup/disaster recovery plan doesn’t reveal itself until something crazy happens. That makes it difficult for a business owner who hasn’t suffered the pains of data loss to invest in this most crucial of IT considerations.

If your business has data that is irreplaceable and you do not have a comprehensive strategy, please, PLEASE, get something in place.

Design Tech has extensive experience crafting the right-size strategy for your business:

Data Loss Prevention (DLP policy)


Disaster Recovery

Business Continuity including Recovery Point Objectives

Even if you don’t partner with us, PLEASE review your files and make sure you have a good backup!