One Monday morning a company contacted us who advised they couldn’t access a file on their laptop. We went out to them to take a look and discovered a ransomware attack.  

The company had all their information and customer files stored on their laptop and NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive but this was now inaccessible. Their data was all gone. Calling your clients to tell them that all their data is lost would not be an easy phone call.  

A virus has infiltrated your network and demands a ransom to make all files readable again. The criminals target everybody including large companies and small companies. There is no pattern. This is a Ransomware attack.

One large company hit with an attack recently is Asco. They manufacture aircraft parts and aviation equipment. The attack caused “a serious disruption” to their activities. They immediately quarantined their systems. As a result, work at their sites in Belgium, Canada, The United States and Germany stopped.

Asco lost up to a weeks’ worth of production due to the attack. Imagine your business lost a whole weeks’ worth of production. Meaning customers wouldn’t get their orders, your staff would not be able to work. Therefore, your business would lose money and its reputation.

A Norwegian company Norse Hydro got hit by an attack in March 2019. Causing a temporary stoppage at their plants. With production changed to manual operations. Their chief financial officer Ervin Kaleva “The situation for Hydro through this is quite severe. The entire worldwide network is down, affecting our production as well as our office operations.” Alongside the reported impact to working practices the share value was also affected.

The appeal to the hackers is that companies do not always have the best security measures in place. Large companies appear to have money to pay a large ransom. A new strain of the Malware is one which stays undetected for some time, allowing it to spread before causing the greatest amount of damage.

An attack starts with the infection of a computer within your network. Then it attempts to spread before encrypting your files and any storage devices attached including backup drives. This will spread over your computer and into your backups over a period. So, once you realise the virus has taken hold, it is already too late, and your system and backups are already encrypted. Recovery of the system can prove slow and expensive. With the hackers hoping you will pay the ransom rather than take the time and money to fix your system yourself.

Those often targeted are companies with little protection

What can you do to protect yourself? Install antivirus and firewalls. Keep them up to date. Educate staff with this information. Employ the services of an IT professional. Keep your data in a central place to make backing up easier. Backup to 3 different places, including a detached device. Include versioning in your backup plan to allow you to revert back to the files before they were encrypted. Test your backups as if there was a disaster. Can you recover?

Do you feel safe in the cloud with Microsoft or Google? Unless you have specifically paid for backups in addition to your account, you are not protected. Everything can be lost.

Here at Nash Business Systems, we are not an IT support company. Backup and patching (ensuring latest updates are applied) of laptops and PC’s are not services we provide. However, all our bespoke systems are backed up to ensure that data is not lost in the event of an attack, and all our hosted services are kept up to date to prevent attacks. Hackers are very clever and able to inflict lots of damage to anybody but will often target those least protected or have known vulnerabilities. If you prevent the easy attacks, then you are less likely to be marked as a target.

If you have any doubts, get in touch with a professional IT Support company or Managed Service Provider.

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