Do You Need an Anti-virus Strategy?

July 3, 2015
Posted in Blog
July 3, 2015 Richard McElroy

Do You Need an Anti-virus Strategy? The answer may surprise you, not that you don’t need a good plan but the one you might have may not really protect you.

The other day a computer was dropped off, from a small business that had been using it for their daily activities. The computer had a large number of documents and spreadsheets containing all of their operational and financial data. Some of the Excel files were very complicated and had taken months to create at great expense. The owner told me that the files were corrupted and wanted to know if I could fix the corruption. A cursory exploration of the computer revealed the issue. The computer had been infected with a ransomware Trojan and every file on the computer had been encrypted. The owner did not have a backup and all other alternatives were ineffective. The owner, sad to say, was dead in the water.

What is Ransomware?

Handcuffed by ransomwareRansomware is a new and freighting type of malware that has been expanding across the internet since 2013. The typical Ransomware Trojan is distributed as an email attachment in a seemingly harmless email. Once the attachment is opened the Trojan installs itself onto the computer and creates a registry key that allows it to start up every time the computer is turned on. Once the Ransomware has been installed it contacts its controlling server and requests an RSA 2048-bit encryption key. This level of encryption key is, for all intents and purposes, unbreakable. The Ransomware then proceeds to encrypt certain types of files on the hard drive and any mapped network drives. Although there are multiple variants of this type of Ransomware they all typically encrypt all Microsoft Office files, Open Office files, Adobe files, pictures and various other files that one would prefer not to lose. Once the Ransomware has done its work it will display a message on the screen explaining that all of the files have been encrypted and the only way to decrypt them is to send money or bitcoins to the operator in a finite amount of time or else the operator will delete the encryption key and file recovery will be impossible. It is not recommended to pay the operator as the chance of success is small if at all.

Your anti-virus software is supposed to catch these types of threats, but it may not always or it will miss the threat until it has encrypted many files. Because it takes time to encrypt files, if the Ransomware is caught, or noticed early on and the threat eradicated, damage may be limited. However, we find this is seldom the case. Additionally, we are privy to studies that have shown that as many as 24% of all PC’s are completely unprotected from viruses and as high as 70% of PC’s are running outdated anti-virus software. Some studies have shown that up to 80% of all business servers are running outdated anti-virus software. Imagine if just one PC on a network is unprotected against a Ransomware attack… the results could be catastrophic!

These new devastating threats are out there, waiting to destroy any business that has not implemented a comprehensive security plan.

At Genusys Group, we have created the ideal security plan, as part of our comprehensive SMB Protection Plan – our clients don’t need to worry about these threats. This revolutionary plan consists of four parts, each relying on a “Defense in Depth” strategy or, more colloquially, a “Belt and Suspenders” strategy.

Here is how it works:

First: We employ a highly sophisticated anti-virus program that uses information from millions and millions of computers worldwide to determine if a program or process is good or bad. Each computer reports into our centrally monitored console every hour to relay its status. If there are any issues, they are dealt with immediately, eliminating the chance that an unprotected computer slipped through the cracks.

Second: We deploy highly rated anti-malware software on every computer. The Anti-malware has a real-time component that stops most of the browser malware that adds toolbars or changes search engines. It also acts as a second layer of defense in the event something manages to slip past the antivirus software. This software reports into our central console as well and we react as soon as a threat is reported.

Third: When we bring a computer under our protection plan we turn Windows System Protection on. This allows us to make use of Microsoft’s Shadow Copy feature to recover previous versions of files.

Fourth: We highly suggest that every client uses one of the backup solutions that we offer to protect their data. Each of our backup solutions provides for an on-site and off-site storage option so the data resides locally as well as in the cloud, protecting our clients from many different disasters.

What is your business strategy for countering this new and potentially devastating threat?

Perhaps the time is right to contact Genusys Group and invite us to meet with you. Our initial consultation is complimentary and you will meet with a dedicated system security professional, not a sales guy.

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