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CryptoWall is a new and highly destructive variant of ransomware. Ransomware is malicious software (malware) that infects your computer and holds your data hostage in exchange for money. Older ransomware used to block access to computers. Newer ransomware, such as CryptoWall, takes your data hostage. With CryptoWall, thieves use asymmetric encryption, where the decryption key is different from the encryption key and is not stored next to the encrypted data. This forces victims to pay the thief a ransom for the decryption key to unlock the data. Ransomware presents a unique threat. It must be detected and stopped before data is maliciously encrypted, or the data may be lost and become forever unrecoverable.

So how you do protect yourself against this threat, both at home and at work? Follow these tips for general network and computer security:

  1. Ensure you are using a Managed Anti-Virus. Managed AV solutions are monitored through Managed Services, like Partek360. This means threats are detected and reported immediately and that updates are constantly applied.
  2. Use a Managed Malware Scan. Much like Managed AV, a managed malware solution also ensures threats are detected and acted on before they spread, and that updates are applied immediately.
  3. Use a Password Policy. Our recent article on passwords applies here. Make sure you’re using a password of at least 8 characters, utiltizing the following: Upper-case, lower-case, numbers, special characters. Also remember to change your password recently, and don’t use the same password on multiple websitew – have separate passwords for separate applications / sites.
  4. Use a Firewall with Gateway Security. Partek installs SonicWALL firewalls into as many environments as we can.  SonicWALLS are specifically developed to stop a majority of threats, such as CryptoWall, directly at the firewall before they enter your network. If you’re not sure if you have a SonicWALL, contact us. This is an investment in your data security.
  5. Use Common Sense:  Probably the most obvious, but least followed, advice. Security threats, such as CryptoWall, are typically deployed through email attachments and rogue links. If in doubt, DO NOT open the link or attachment. Minimizing your risk to this attack is more often dependent on browsing and email habits.

Following the above advice will go a long way to preventing the CyrptoWall attack on your network, and keep your data safe.