Ransomware Prices Skyrocket by 266%: How Can You Protect Your Data?

5-10-2017 12-10-24 PM
The cost of ransomware just went way up!  How can users protect their data?
With the increase of ransomware and Crypto-Locker viruses, it’s no surprise the ransom demands put forth by hackers have also risen.
Between 2015 and 2016, the price to retrieve data from a ransomware attack increased by 266%.  The average demand is now $1,077 per victim compared to 2015 when it was $294.[1]
These numbers are staggering as essentially the price of ransomware has tripled in just over a year!
Paying that amount of money to retrieve your data can be difficult, especially for firms whose entire infrastructure is affected.  There is also no guarantee that once you pay the hackers that they will decrypt your data.
So what steps can be taken to ensure you don’t end up with a +$1,000 ransomware bill?

Best Practice:  Invest in a Robust Antimalware/Antivirus Solution

One of the quickest ways to protect your system and devices from ransomware is to put some form of antivirus/antimalware software in place.
There are many different types of programs to choose from.  When deciding what type of protection to put in place, the more robust the better.
Pre-installed programs such as Windows Defender and free versions of McAfee and Symantec are not efficient means for protecting a firm-wide system as they have neither the scope nor the resources to manage large amounts of virus activity.
A good antivirus program should have the following components:
1) Use Cloud-Based Technology – A majority of antivirus programs use definition-based files to scan and identify threats. These files are updated and are meant to contain information relating to the specifications of the latest malware and virus threats.
A downside to this technology is that without a definition file outlining a particular virus and its fix, the antivirus program will not be able to identify it.  This can cause many dangerous threats to avoid the antivirus program and enter your system.
Alternatively, antivirus programs that use Cloud-based technology are able to automatically update themselves with the latest virus information pulled from the Internet allowing them to identify, quarantine, and remove the most recent viruses.
This provides a more robust form of protection, ensuring nothing falls through the cracks to infect your system.
2) Compatibility with Existing Antivirus Programs – Many antivirus programs run on a subscription base service where the purchase of licensing could last for a year or more. When looking to implement a new antivirus program, be sure that it will work in conjunction with the existing antivirus or remove the existing software.
Implementing an antivirus program with the ability to co-exist with pre-installed programs, without compromising the performance of either program, is optimal for a firm looking to make a change to their environment quickly but still want to make use of the valid licenses for other programs.
3) Less Resource Intensive and Device Compatibility – An optimal antivirus program is one that works quietly behind the scenes and does not take up a lot of resources on your system. This allows you to work without delay or performance issues while the program protects your computer.
Your antivirus software should also work across a multitude of devices.  From PCs to Macs, smartphones, and tablets, you need to ensure that all of your firm devices are protected.

Solution: Webroot Antimalware

When discussing the components that make up a good antivirus system, the product that fulfills all of these qualifications and one we highly recommend is Webroot Antimalware.
Webroot uses Cloud based heuristics to proactively update its knowledge base concerning the latest viruses and malware.  The tool is able to identify viruses and malware attempting to penetrate your system and remove them before they do any damage.
Webroot is able to work off of both PC and Mac-based environments and lets users know the relative safety of websites by presenting a check-mark, caution sign, or alert depending indicating the website’s safety levels.
Webroot is also capable of working with your existing antivirus system.  Neither the existing antivirus program nor Webroot is impacted in terms of its performance and ability to protect your devices.
When choosing your first or a new antivirus program for your firm, we recommend going with Webroot.  Its programming and features are some of the most up-to-date on the market; with a relatively hands-free approach it is able to effectively protect your devices without taking up too many resources on your computer.
Ensuring your infrastructure is well and fully protected is an investment that all firm should consider making in 2017.  With ransomware serving a potent example of what can happen to firms when their data is compromised and the price they have to pay, there should be little doubt that a good antivirus system can help minimize the potential risks to your system.  To learn more about the benefit and features of Webroot Antimalware software, contact us at 647-426-1004.
Courtney Rosebush is a Marketing and Sales Coordinator at Triella, a technology consulting firm specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Courtney can be reached at 647.426.1004 x 227. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publicationsTriella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.
© 2017 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.
[1] Ng, Alfred. (2017, April 27).  Ransomware became three times as expensive in 2016.  CNET.  Retrieved from https://www.cnet.com/news/ransomware-became-three-times-as-expensive-in-2016/

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