Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 11.04.48 AMSome people think of a ransomware threat as a single machine attack, so they don’t necessarily look around the rest of the network for other signs of a breach, making it easier for the attacker to remain unnoticed. To effectively guard against ransomware, we must first have an understanding about these cyberattacks and why they pose such a high risk to organizations everywhere. Any complex system is subject to security vulnerabilities and, as such, should always consider a multi-layered security approach.

Recently, in May 2017, the WannaCry malware ransomware attack started in Europe, then spread through Asia Pacific and on to North America. This cyberattack has slowed, but also has inspired imitators who could hit at any time. Now, more than ever, large enterprises and small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) across every industry need to be prepared for another attack. Protection from these attacks requires a deep understanding of how companies can shield themselves from an initial infection and also recover from a virus as quickly as possible should it infiltrate a system.

What Exactly Is Ransomware?
These malicious pieces of software are designed to gain access to, and then encrypt, data. It is impossible to decrypt those files without a private key, which is usually stored on the attacker’s server. The attacker leaves instructions such as a ransom note on how to decrypt your files. Your files are basically being held hostage and the choices come down to either paying the ransom, or restoring your data from backup – if you have backups. Some ransomware will even seek and destroy backups.

While this type of cyberattack is not new, it has grown rapidly in recent years, with new encryption technologies, smarter programming, and easier means for hackers to conceal their identities. Meanwhile, cybercriminals are creating more intelligent methods of attack, making the need for advanced data protection even more crucial.

Host.net Battles Ransomware Using Virtual Replication
Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 11.04.04 AMIf an organization becomes the unfortunate victim of a ransomware attack, the files are locked down – and the last backup might have been from last night, last week, or maybe last month. Traditional data protection solutions may offer a certain degree of assurance but there is still an inevitable amount of data loss and downtime that can have a significant cost to the business.

Typical backup solutions have large windows between available recovery points, which results in a significant amount of data loss and a good deal of time spent recovering the data in a consistent and usable state. Any amount of information loss is undesirable, and the ease with which all mission-critical systems and applications can be recovered must be a top priority.

With Host.net Virtual Replication, powered by Zerto, systems are protected with Continuous Data Protection in the form of incremental block-level replication between the production environment and the Host.net managed disaster recovery site, and delivers the ability to:

  • Re-wind sites, servers, applications and even individual files to any point in time, from a few seconds prior to up to 14 days ago.
  • Recover all critical systems and applications with consistency in the space of a few minutes in the disaster recovery site.
  • Easily test recovery data in an isolated sandboxed network to ensure its validity.

How Can Host.net Help?
Fortunately, several measures can aid in the battle against malware, the most important of which is taking a multi-layered security approach. Securing entry points into the network is an important step in reducing the probability of infection. Organizations should analyze network traffic for intrusions, scan emails, implement antivirus software on the network gateway and workstations, segregate BYOD networks, and overall implement a better security model.

It is also incredibly important to educate all staff on steps they can take to guard the company’s network, as many viruses will gain initial access to a system through user error. Training will help employees understand the dangers of ransomware and recognize what should and should not be accessed.

For more information on how the South Florida datacenter and cloud services provider can help keep your data connected and protected, contact us at 887.388.HOST or email info@host.net.