October 2016 Security Bulletin – Ransomware

Ransomware is becoming more of an issue for firms and is causing downtime, disruption and costs to organisations worldwide. Therefore we are contacting all our clients to highlight the issue, make you aware of potential costs in the event of a breach, and to share our guidance in combating the threat.

What is Ransomware?

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. Some forms of ransomware systematically encrypt files on the system’s hard drive, which become difficult or impossible to decrypt without paying the ransom for the encryption key, while some may simply lock the system and display messages intended to coax the user into paying. Ransomware typically propagates as a trojan, disguised as a seemingly legitimate file.

As Ransomware is a criminal act, the cost of time and recovery will be chargeable as it lies outside the terms of our support. We advise that you follow the recommendations below and seek independent advice in relation to taking out a cyber insurance policy.

How you can mitigate the risk

Atlas Business are reminding clients to advise their staff of the following:

  • Do not open unusual attachments, usually in the form of a Word or PDF document, or Excel spreadsheets from an unknown source
  • Do not click links on emails from an unknown source
  • Check the reply address on the email
  • Do not release emails from SPAM that you are unsure of
  • If a website appears different close the site and report this to the service desk

Atlas Business also strongly recommend the following to mitigate infection from ransomware. These actions will help prevent downtime and the cost of recovering data from backup.

Managed email security services including Targeted Threat Protection

Trend Micro Security is a complete security solution which includes comprehensive anti-spam and phishing protection to ensure you are protected against any potential threats.  Atlas Business can supply, configure and maintain Trend Micro Security providing you with complete peace of mind.

Watchguard UTM (Unified Threat Management) is the industry’s highest-performing, all in one network security platform.  Watchguard’s spamblocker is so fast and effective it can review up to 4 billion messages per day.  Atlas Business can supply, configure and maintain Watchguard UTM for you ensuring your data is always secure.

Bitdefender antiphishing prevents you from disclosing personal information while browsing the internet by alerting you about potential phishing web pages.  If you would like Bitdefender configuring for your organisation please contact us.

Mimecast Targeted Threat Protection extends traditional security to defend against malicious links in email, weaponized attachments and malware-less social-engineering attacks – the three most common attack methods. Real-time scanning and blocking of suspect websites and attachment sandboxing prevent employees from inadvertently downloading malware or revealing credentials and the detection of suspicious financial fraud emails.

File security review (Chargeable engineering required)

We will review your file structures and make recommendations to reduce the amount of data each staff member has access to. By only providing staff with access to the information they need, the reach of any Trojan working to encrypt files will be limited.

We recommend that you give this your urgent attention.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the above solutions, our file security review or would like to discuss your existing protection, please contact Adam Bell on 0333 666 3330 or email adam.bell@atlasbusiness.com

Adam Bell
IT Team Leader