Ransomware

Wikipedia defines Ransomware as:

Ransomware is a type of malware that restricts access to the infected computer system in some way, and demands that the user pay a ransom to the malware operators to remove the restriction.

We have a friend with a business here in Des Moines, IA. Like many small business, they had their POS system running locally on a server at one of the businesses locations. Last week all of a sudden the registers all locked up and they could not get in. Tech support  found the system to be infected with a ransom ware and in a doc they found on the server was information on how to pay the ransom and get the system back.

After a day or two, they decided to pay the ransom as the ransom went up $1,000 per day. They had to go thru hoops to convert monies to bit coin and get it sent. IT cost them over $5,000, quite a bit more…

They were told by techs and insurance company to pay the ransom, that these people don’t want a bad reputation on the Dark Web, so they will give the key.

Well, lets think about that a minute. Someone who is despicable enough to hi-jack your business is going to be trust worthy? There is no way to identify them, so how do they get a bad rep on the Dark Web? And ‘What is a Bad Rep on the Dark Web, a web of criminals‘? As soon as I heard they paid, I knew they had just lost their money. You hear about hospitals paying the ransom and in high profile cases maybe they do get the key, but thousands of others are just caught up in the scam and lose.

Well after several days they have not been given the key to unlock their system. They have been able to get parts of systems back up from scratch, but the most valuable stuff is not available. They checked backups, back 3 weeks, and found the backups were all corrupt and un-usable.

This one incident has crippled a thriving business with 3 store fronts.

The Lesson

Do not host your own servers in-house. 20 years ago you could build a server, load your software, put an anti virus system on it and you were good.

Well, not today. Hackers are much more sophisticated.

Solution

We recommend you look into managed cloud hosting. With Managed Cloud Hosting, you are renting a server, either physical or virtual, that has only your systems on it. The Cloud Servers are located in secure data centers that protect their networks. You still need to have your server secured, but the data centers security measures are a layer of protection you can’t duplicate in-house.

The Managed portion means that techs at the data center are responsible for system updates, some software updates, providing backups and they are there to help if your systems have any problems. Basically they become your tech support and security experts for your server. Make sure you do some research and pick a company with a good reputation of support.

Virtual Managed Cloud Server will cost from $25 – $150 per month depending on how much storage and CPU you need. Dedicated servers cost more and are intended for large sites. Most small business can get away with a virtual cloud server for less than $50.00 per month.

For instance, I just looked up a Managed Cloud Virtual VPS Server for $30.00 per month with 4GB RAM, 75GB SSD storage, 4TB bandwidth and free SSL certificate to secure server.

This particular server would be running on an Intel Xenon processor with 48 cores. More than enough power for any small business tasks, and if something goes wrong, you just contact them and they fix it, or assist you in getting things back to normal.

Also, keep lots of backups. You can get a service like Amazon s3 for little cost to store month’s worth of backups. Amazon s3 is a cloud based storage service. We keep 60 daily backups, 52 weekly backups and 24 monthly backups of all of our hosted web sites and our costs are under $35 per month.

Hope this helps, we wanted our clients to be aware of what’s out there.

 JTM Staff

 

 

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