Imagine that all of your most valuable treasures are stored in the safety of your home. One morning, you run out to grab a few groceries and accidentally leave a window open just a crack. (We’ve all done it!) While you’re gone, someone enters your home, doesn’t take anything, but changes the security system and all of the locks. You come home to find that there is no way into your house. Your locks are changed, security system deactivated, and there are bars on all of the windows. You go to the window and can see that everything is still there but you can’t get to it. You notice a note attached to the door that reads, “To get access to the keys, please send $1000 to…” What would you do?
Now here is a real world example. This actually happened to a local business that came to us for help. We got the call on a Tuesday morning, “We have a popup notification on our computers saying that we need to pay 1 bitcoin to get the key to decrypt our files. We have payroll coming up on Friday and we can’t access any files or anything on our network. Can you help?” The business owner felt helpless. These things happen not only to the Walmarts, Home Depots, and Ashley Madisons of the world, they can (and do) happen to businesses right here in Saskatchewan.
What happened? Well… their server was vulnerable to brute force attacks. The hacker(s) kept trying different passwords until they broke into their server. Once inside, they didn’t actually delete or steal any of the data. Instead, the hackers encrypted every program and file stored on their network. In order to get the unlock ‘key’ to get their data back, the hackers demanded 1 bitcoin (current approx. value $1000) as payment for the key. Now you may be saying, “Why didn’t they just recover their data from their backups?” Unfortunately, their previous provider failed to have backups setup properly for them.
Because our team at KSP Technology had researched and tested different solutions, we had the know-how to quickly and easily help these people out. We recovered the programs and files from the server and had the company back up and running in less than 24 hours. Since then, they’ve decided to partner with us to handle their IT needs. We have migrated the company’s server to a Hosted Desktop environment, increased overall security of their network, and have all of their data backed up properly.
It’s easy to dismiss the story as “folklore,” if you’ve never felt the pain of losing your data. But ask yourself: how would it affect your business if you were unable to access your data? What is the potential loss of revenue that could occur if your business network was down for a day? A week? A month? I hate ‘scare tactics’, and hopefully you never get hit with a Ransomware/CryptoLocker virus, but you should talk to your IT provider about what measures they’ve put in place to protect you from such an attack. People have house insurance, not because they think their house will burn down but because they need the comfort of knowing they are protected in the event of a disaster.