If you’ve been following the news, you probably know that Apple’s OS X was just the target of a “Ransomware” virus attack for the first time ever. Ransomware is a dangerous form of malicious software that essentially “steals” a computer’s files by encrypting them and holding them hostage until the owner of the computer pays a set fee in Bitcoin. While the virus emerged originally as a threat to Apple’s system, it’s become clear that the virus can just as easily steal the files people store on their cloud devices. Here’s what you need to know about this dangerous malware, and others:

Ransomware and Cloud Security

According to Krebs, some companies have already felt the negative effects of Ransomware on their software. One example is Children in Firm, a company run by Toni Casala that represents young actors. For years, the company’s files have been stored in a cloud managed by a cloud solutions firm located in California. Casala reported loving the service due to its efficiency, ease, support, and low cost. Just before the new year, however, an employee of the firm clicked an email attachment which allowed Ransomware to take over the company’s data. Within thirty minutes, none of the tens of thousands of documents stored in the cloud were accessible.

While Children in Firm’s story is unfortunate, it’s not altogether unheard of. There are several different forms of Ransomware that target coding weaknesses in operating systems or cloud servers.

How to Defend Your Files from Security Threats

While it’s impossible to completely mitigate the risk of security breaches, there are many things you can do to ensure you’re protecting the data you have stored in the cloud. One of the first is daily backups. Daily data backups that synch with a device that’s not consistently connected to the network are one of the most efficient ways to ensure that data remains secure, even in the event of a breach.

Additionally, companies can protect themselves by enacting common sense protocols about which attachments to open or not open. In the case of Children in Firm, the suspicious attachment looked like an invoice. While many malicious attachments are disguised as familiar or harmless attachments, it pays to think twice about whether the attachment truly makes sense or not. Does that client often send invoices via email? Is there a bill you are expecting an invoice for? Do you know the email from which the invoice was sent? While these questions won’t prevent all suspicious attachments from slipping through, they will go a long way toward boosting your everyday defenses against malicious software. Finally, companies can protect their cloud data by encrypting it prior to upload and ensuring role-based authorization for any sensitive data stored in the cloud.

Conclusion

As the Internet of Things continues to grow and more and more companies and individuals move toward the cloud, it’s inevitable that security threats will appear and that, occasionally, security breaches will happen. Fortunately, it’s possible to protect yourself and your company’s sensitive information by being aware of emerging viruses, such as Ransomware, and knowing how to protect yourself against them. By backing up data daily and employing common-sense cloud safety tips, you can give yourself and your company a huge head start when it comes to avoiding cloud security threats and keeping your data safe.

For more information on emerging security threats or for helpful tips on how you can keep your cloud data safe and secure, contact Allied Telecom today!

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