Defense Against Crime

01/09/2016

BACK UP YOUR FILES BEFORE DISASTER STRIKES

Backing up has become more important than ever, thanks to cyber-attacks like ransom-ware or having a natural disaster like a flood or tornado.

If you are a regular reader here you already know how pervasive and frustrating ransom-ware is. If you’re new to our blog, here is a bit of background – Ransom-ware is one of the newest attack method in the malware world. It can be pulled off with great ease as all a hacker has to do is buy some premade ransom-ware kit from malware creators on the dark web. Then he or she distributes the malicious code, usually by way of email attachments, but as we have explained earlier, ransom-ware can also get onto systems via security holes, or vulnerabilities in outdated system software. When the ransom-ware code is executed by say, clicking that infected link in an email, it begins to encrypt all the files on your computer or device. That’s when you’ll get a notice from the ransom-ware creators, letting you know that your files have been encrypted and if you want to retrieve them you’ll need to pay them in untraceable bitcoins ($hundreds to thousands of dollars).

You have two choices, pay to perhaps get your files back, or not pay…and loose EVERYTHING you have on your computer!  The sad truth is that even if you pay you may not get your files back because once they have been encrypted, they can only be un-encrypted with the correlating key – which the hackers have and aren’t about to give to you.

If you have been meticulous in backing up your files, data, pictures and whatever else you have that’s precious to you, then you can stand your ground and walk away.

Make multiple backups

Before we delve into the different backup methods out there, it’s important to note that you should have more than one backup of your files stored in different places to ensure that you are completely covered.

Types of backup

Cloud-based backup – You are probably familiar with cloud storage like Google Drive and s9ihizonvcfhc0wndarsDropBox. The idea here is that your files are stored in the Google or DropBox cloud respectively and you can access them from anywhere that you can log into your account. These services are great for sharing pictures and collaborating on documents and presentations but they aren’t really designed for heavy duty, let alone automatic backup. Instead, look for a cloud based backup that automatically backs up all your files and folders. Some important features to watch out for:

  • Unlimited storage.
  • Folder syncing and sharing.
  • Continuous backup throughout the day automatically.
  • Available for smartphone.
  • Price tag factor – some plans like Carbonite can run at about $60 per license per year and others can run over $120 or more per year depending on the level of service or options you choose

Do your research and find the service and plan that fits your needs best and go with it! Some of the best plans out there are: Crashplan, SOS Online Backup, Backblaze, SugarSync, Spideroak , Carbonite, and iDrive.

iDrive is the PCMag Editor’s choice for 2016: (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2288745,00.asp)

“It has been one of the more ambitious online backup and cloud-based syncing service services in recent years, offering not only some of the most attractive pricing plans, but also a multitude of features in clear desktop, mobile, and Web applications.”

Local backup – Your other option is to back up to an external hard drive or a flash drive. This method is a bit less user-friendly as it cannot be done automatically and since flash drives are so small, they tend to get lost easily. But it’s not a bad idea to have a physical backup of your digital stuff.  You can purchase external drives, you just have to be careful not to leave them connected AFTER you backup.

PLEASE NOTE: Ransom-ware can affect every file on every drive on your computer, and even cloud drives like Dropbox. If you get infected with Ransom-ware, your backups can be affected as well. So please discount them when not using them.

 

When it comes to ransom-ware, follow our mantra “Backup, don’t pay up”.

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