Ransomware - now available on Mac OS X

March 18, 2016

On March 4th, Palo Alto Networks discovered the first fully functional ransomware for OS X. This is important to note for several reasons:


1.     This shows the proliferation of ransomware in general.

2.     Demonstrates the success of ransomware and the expanding threat.

3.     Mac users tend to think their systems are inherently secure and frequently do not have antivirus installed.

4.     Increases the need for businesses to address the threat of malware and viruses in their environment.


So What Exactly Is Ransomware?


Ransomware is malware with a very specific purpose. Once downloaded and installed by the unwitting victim, these programs encrypt some or all of the files on your computer, locking you out of your own information. Whether it is family pictures, personal information, or company data, the malware then informs the user that they can have their files back if they pay a ransom. The fee typically paid in bit-coin is customarily about $500. In many cases, more sophisticated ransomware programs, like CryptoLocker, even have customer service departments and guidance on their webpages to help you convert money to bitcoin to pay the fees. It's a bit of cottage industry.


Ransomware is distributed in two primary methods:


1.     Malicious websites that are either high-jacked or 

2.     Email phishing attacks, in which the attacker tricks you into clicking on a file or link that contains the ransomware. 


What To Do To Prevent Ransomware Attacks In Your Business:


1.     Backups are critical. ETS recommends Datto Backup and Disaster Recovery, via ETS Managed Backup and Recovery solution.

2.     Next-Generation Firewalls are your first line of defense. These firewalls are capable of filtering user's internet traffic and halting known malware and ransomware before it even reaches your network.

3.     Enterprise-class antivirus / anti-malware is critical to preventing infections for computers when they are off of your corporate network, and as an added layer of protection when they are inside the network. ETS recommends Sophos Cloud for all your endpoint protection needs.

4.     Consider a Security Managed Services Agreement to provide the ultimate level of security protection for your environment. Our proactive approach to security gives you peace of mind to avoid a potentially devastating malware or ransomware infection. 


Request a consultation today to learn more about what ETS can do for your business!

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