In light recent Russian based hacker attacks on Australian businesses, there are three things that every business much do to ensure they can survive such an attack and not have to pay these low-lifes their ransom.
1. Install the latest software updates for your operating system and software.
This seems a simple thing, most of us are used to clicking “okay” to install updates when we are prompted but equally, many people are equally used to clicking “remind me later”. It can be annoying how often software updates are released, but they are released for a reason. The latest cyber-extortion attacks in Queensland were reportedly made by exploiting older versions of Flash and Adobe Reader (The Australian). Updates come out for a reason, folks.
2. Have a daily offsite and disconnected backup.
Lot’s of people, including the medical practice mentioned in The Australian have a daily backup, but it’s often to a USB drive that lives connected to the computer. Until recently this was a bad idea simply because a fire, flood or theft could destroy your computer AND the USB drive, but if that drive had been disconnected and taken home on a rotation with other drives, the threat would have been less. Better still, an online backup (such as ours, of course!) can tick all of these boxes.
3. Have a bare-metal image backup of your computer.
Just having your data protected is great and will help you survive. To make sure you reduce your exposure to downtime the very solution is a bare-metal image backup such as Acronis or Shadow Protect. The trap with image backups is related to our second tip, in that image backups are often performed to a USB drive or network share. Better to have a image backup to a USB drive that you can disconnect and remove from the premises complimented by a daily online backup. If a cyber-extortion attack were to occur, then you could just restore your computer in full from your image backup and then recover the most recent copy of your data from your online backup.