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Do backups always defend me from ransomware?

Ransomware is one the most popular methods of online extortion used by hackers. The hacker infects the victim’s device with malware, usually by tricking them into clicking a link in an email or pop up, which then encrypts documents and data and holds them hostage. They then demand money in exchange for the release of the data, yet they do not always hold up their end of the bargain.

How successful are ransomware attacks?

In 2017, the number of ransomware attacks are expected to double, with each one potentially demanding thousands of pounds.

One assumes that most businesses would have backup plans in place, allowing them to be restored without paying the ransom. However, it was reported that in the first four months of 2016, $209 million was paid to hackers as a result of ransomware. And even if you pay the ransom you will not necessarily get your data back  – only 40% of hackers actually return data!

Do backups help?

If you’ve used the same backup solution for several years, it needs regular checking as it will be more likely to fail when you go to restore from it. Additionally, if your documents are not set to be automatically backed up, important files may be missing and therefore permanently lost if your data is stolen.

If your backup is stored in the same system as data stolen by a hacker, the encryption becomes useless. Unfortunately, your only options in this situation are to either pay the ransom and hope that your data is returned, or to accept that the data is gone.

Not only does the ransomware itself cause a reduction in business efficiency, but the time spent recovering from data loss can be vast, and cost almost as much as the actual ransom. The best way to defend yourself from ransomware is to prevent the malware from infecting your computer in the first place. If you’re unlucky and your data does get stolen, you can avoid paying the ransom by making sure that your backups are kept safely, on several different systems.

Malware and other computer viruses are unfortunately rife. Your IT support company should be constantly updating your anti-virus software and performing regular checks on your systems to ensure that your protection is as up to date. This is the best way to make sure that your cyber protection mechanisms are as effective as possible against any existing or emerging threats.


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