What is Ransomware?
The world has – unfortunately – been becoming more and more familiar with the term ransomware in recent months. The idea is simple; ransomware is malware that infects files on a user’s system and applies encryption that can only be decrypted by the attackers, since only they have the decryption key. The “ransom” is a payment made by the infected to the attackers, usually via bitcoin, typically in amounts between $300 and $600 like the WannaCry virus, which reportedly affected 300,000 devices in 150 countries. Essentially, the bad guys are locking you out of your own house using technology meant for good – encryption – for nefarious purposes.
More recently, a variant of Petya, another form of malware from which the WannaCry virus was also derived, has affected a multitude of Russian and Ukranian businesses as well as a handful of larger organizations such as snack food giant Mondelez and FedEx. This version of Petya is considered to be more sophisticated than malware used in previous attacks because of its worm capabilities, meaning the ransomware is able to move laterally across infected networks. This means that it only takes one infected device to affect an entire network, which obviously can spell trouble for organizations and individuals alike. It can be a massive headache and individuals may be unsure of what to do. Additionally, larger companies and organizations can be utterly crippled by attacks of this scale. Business can grind to a halt if business-critical documents are frozen.
What Does it Mean?
Imagine coming home from work one day to find that your personal computer plagued by ransomware. Years of photos, music, records, and other important personal information locked in place to which you don’t have a key. You may be wondering, how could this happen if the docs are stored in SharePoint or OneDrive? It’s simple – if users are syncing SharePoint or OneDrive (personal or business) to their desktop and their desktop becomes infected, those infected files will overwrite the files in SharePoint/OneDrive on the next sync (usually immediately after the local files are changed). Depending on the specific ransomware attack, there are some remediation steps that could be taken if SharePoint or OneDrive have versioning turned on, though this reliance is not really practical if you have to spin back to previous versions of hundreds of thousands of individual files.
What can you do?
What You Can do on Your Own
What’s the best way to avoid paying ransom to some thug? Don’t mess up in the first place! The best recommended way to defend against ransomware is to have good, current backups of your data stored outside of your local system or PC. Additionally, running good, up-to-date antivirus software whenever your computer is running will make it that much harder for the attackers to gain entry into your system.
The first line of defense in the fight against ransomware is simple; healthy skepticism and common sense go a long way. If an email looks suspicious, steer clear. Check for typos, check for anything that seems out of the ordinary. Make sure email addresses are real and make sure they originate from a legitimate source and only open attachments or other executables that you know are safe. If using Office 365, make sure that versioning is turned on so that if the encrypted version is uploaded, you can still revert to a last known good copy. These best practices may seem simple or second nature, but they go a long way towards maintaining the security of your device, network, or company.
How AvePoint Can Help
If the out of the box measures above still don’t help you sleep any better, AvePoint is happy to help. Granular backup is the critical component when it comes to a backup strategy to avoid the hassles of a ransomware attack. In addition to frequently backing up content, granular backup allows for easy, quick recovery from a ransomware attack.
Backup and Restore from AvePoint provides full fidelity backup and recovery, whether that be from individual content items to entire SharePoint environments and all of their farm-level components and maintaining all metadata, security settings, and version histories. It also offers a highly intuitive user interface in addition to enterprise-strength scalability, and deep integration with leading hardware providers, Backup and Restore from AvePoint offers simple and truly comprehensive protection for SharePoint backup, whether on premises, in Office 365, or a hybrid deployment. Additionally, Cloud backup from AvePoint is as easy as setting up your protection with a few clicks and then having piece of mind that you are fully protected. We protect data stored in both online and on-premises SharePoint and OneDrive systems so we have you covered wherever you are storing your critical company data.
The news lately has made one thing abundantly clear. Breaches and attacks happen and as long as there’s money to be made, criminals will do as criminals do. However, you’re not alone in the fight. AvePoint protection, backup, and restore offerings are there to help you when things go wrong. Our products based around security and data protection are available to give you the peace of mind of knowing that even if an attack happens, downtime is minimal, headaches abate quickly, and restoration is a quick and easy process.
Interested in learning more about AvePoint’s backup and recovery solutions to help combat a ransomware attack? Click HERE for a free trial!