Monthly Archives: June 2017

I Remember the Time I Lost My Data (Part 1)

I document everything. From photographing my daily commute to scanning and saving every receipt I acquire, it’s important to me that everything I’ve done or seen is somehow on file. I’m a private eye, and I believe in impeccable organization, and keeping records of everything I see and do. As I learned in detective school, anything can lead to a clue.

Every day, I create a new file on my enormous hard drive titled with the date. There are over 4,000 files. Over the last 11 years, I have diligently documented everything. I can pull up information on any hour of any day and remember exactly what I was doing then. I have traced that data back to robberies and kidnappings and used it to solve mysteries. For example, by snapping photos of the muddy animal tracks on the sidewalk, I helped the bakery discover that it was a fox who was breaking in and stealing cookies. That’s just one example of out of a thousand where my record keeping came in extremely handy.

It was under unfortunate circumstances when I realized how important it is to back up my data. It started out like any other Thursday morning. I was reviewing my data collection from yesterday, including a few photos of the groceries I purchased, a pigeon hopping on a giant scarecrow, an abstract figurine my nephew constructed out of Silly Putty, a recorded conversation with my accountant, and the list of songs I had listened to that day. Yes, minutia to most folks, but details that I consider important.

It was a beautiful, sunny morning. I opened the windows to let the warm breeze in. The birds were chirping, and a family of blue jays seemed to be in perfect harmony. I poured my cereal and was brewing some coffee when I heard a crash. I looked over to my laptop and saw that my new puppy had gotten tangled in the power cord and had innocently pulled the computer to the floor. The external damage to my laptop was obvious. What wasn’t so obvious was the internal damage.

After successfully getting my laptop to turn on again, I immediately heard clicking noises. I would eventually figure out that my hard drive was the culprit. It became obvious that my hard drive was experiencing mechanical failure. Eventually, it would also become obvious that all of the data I had accumulated over the past few years was gone. Unfortunately, nothing was backed up. It was a lesson learned the hard way. Now I’m an advocate for people to back up all of their files to the cloud. It’s what I call a data-saving solution. You don’t have to be a detective to figure that out!

Back up and protect your important files with Mozy by Dell. Case closed!

Check out how another Mozy customer combined his detective work with the reliability of Mozy cloud backup to track down the thieves who stole his laptop. Watch video.

Rumor has it that the ransom is going up

Ransomware is a vicious form of malware that locks users out of their devices or blocks access to files, until a ransom is paid. There are numerous variants, with some ransomware designed to attack Windows devices, and others geared towards Macs or mobile devices. The WannaCry outbreak is a recent example of this form of malware that’s infecting Windows computers.

Evolution of ransomware

While ransomware has been around since the late 1980s, it went “pro” in September 2013 when CryptoLocker was released. It was the first cryptographic malware, and spread quickly via downloads from a compromised website and/or emails made to look like customer complaints. It was estimated that more than $27 million was paid in ransom.

That may seem like a hefty amount to pay out, but there’s only been an exponential increase in ransom payments, with CNN reporting that cybercriminals collected more than $209 million in the first quarter of 2016!

Over the course of time, encrypted browser software such as TOR, anonymous currencies like bitcoin, and increasingly intelligent cybercriminals have evolved ransomware to where it is the #1 security concern of organizations.

Protecting your business

Cybercriminals do not particularly care who their victims are, as long as they can pay a ransom. With a scatter gun approach to propagating ransomware, cybercriminals just want to cast the net as wide as possible so as to maximize the returns.

Here is how you can protect your business:

Educate your users

Most people can’t tell a phishing email from a safe email. Teach your employees to recognize a phishing email. Train them to only open emails from people they know and that pertain to topics they would be expected to talk to them about, and avoid navigating to URLs sent in emails.

“Humans need to be trained; they are the weakest link,” says Paul Kubler, a cybersecurity and digital forensics examiner at LIFARS LLC. “Companies should employ at minimum a bi-annual training geared towards each user group so that everyone is aware of the latest attacks.”

Use a layered defense and update your software regularly

Ransomware attacks involve many different elements. They can start off as a spam email with a link to a malicious website that exploits vulnerabilities in your system to download the virus. A layered approach to cybersecurity, such as email security as well as network protection, can defend you at each of these points. Each layer creates an extra obstacle for the malware, making it more difficult for the attack to be successful.

Keep your operating system, third-party applications, and antivirus programs updated at all times. These are layers of defense for your data, and while they are not bulletproof, they can go a long way in protecting you.

Back up your data often

Business devices often contain sensitive information, as well as operation-critical information such as customer data and business plans. Losing this data to a ransomware attack could severely cripple your business processes. Ensure regular backups are made of all important data, and that these backups are also routinely tested to make sure they work.

According to Steven J.J. Weisman, author of Scamicide, “The best defense against ransomware is to back up all of your data each day. In fact, my rule is to have three backup copies using two different formats with one off site.”

Ransomware isn’t going anywhere, and it is up to each business to protect itself from being the next victim of this type of cybercrime. Mozy by Dell can help. You can avoid a ransomware disaster!

Read about how these two businesses protect their data from ransomware:
   •     Technology consultant battles ransomware with Mozy backup
   •     IT provider chooses Mozy. ‘Nuff said!