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Viruses have taken a turn for the worse over the last 12 months or so and sadly we are seeing more and more seriously malicious software being developed and distributed through the internet and email.

The latest viruses are designed to really hit where it hurts – they encrypt whatever they deem to be your personal data, whether that is financial spreadsheets, letters and documents, or even photos saved on your computer. Sadly the process is generally irreversible – when it’s gone it’s gone.

Sometimes the only way to retrieve this data is by paying the ransom which is usually several hundred pounds, and even then there is no guarantee that the software will unencrypt the files.

Sometimes there is hope. Usually the user will need to turn to a backup to retrieve the files.

Our advice here is that prevention, or at least safeguards, are better than trying to find a cure. There are plenty of measures which can be taken to minimise the risk, and in some cases recover the data should you contract the virus:
  • Having a current backup system in place is essential. Data is at risk not just from virus damage, but also from user errors and system corruption, so having a current backup is one of the best things you can do from an IT point of view.
  • Make sure internet browsing on office machines is kept to legitimate websites.
  • Implement a blanket ban on emails with .zip attachments.
  • Make sure that emails containing attachments from unknown sources are deleted.
  • Install and keep antivirus and anti-spam systems current. A lot of the time the virus will arrive to you by email, purporting to be from the Post Office, or Companies House. Antivirus and anti-spam systems will generally block these from arriving and being installed, however they are not 100% effective.
  • Removing local administrative rights for users will sometimes stop the installation process.
  • Make sure you're using a currently supported version of Windows, and that it’s being kept up to date using Windows Updates.
  • Use NTFS permissions on file shares, to restrict user access to only the information they require. Generally if the user doesn’t have access to the folder, neither will the virus.
If you are unlucky enough to get a virus in any case, you may be able to recover the situation. Modern versions of Windows, particularly the server versions will use the volume shadow copy service to keep previous versions of files that allow you to go back and restore encrypted files.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help protect your business from the threat of data corruption or loss.
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