A phone call to NetSafe this morning from a PC user facing the loss of a year’s worth of data serves as a timely reminder that taking a proactive approach to computer security is essential when ransomware gangs and other cybercrimials are actively targeted out of date software or unpatched computers.
The computer owner had actually taken the time to back up important business files, but sadly found the USB backup had also been encrypted with CryptoWall ransomware as it was still attached to the infected machine.
With complex malware being able to ‘jump across’ to back up locations – including cloud based services like Dropbox – the onus is on every computer user to protect themselves online and store several copies of essential data, ideally in separate locations.
Last week, international law enforcement agencies took down the network behind CryptoLocker ransomware but it would appear other malware writers are moving in to grab a share of the market.
Connect Smart Week is coming
Next week marks the start of the new government initiative, Connect Smart. This rebranded Cyber Security Awareness Week for 2014 will highlight ways home internet users and SMEs can protect themselves from phishing attacks and malware infections and will be launched in Wellington.
The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) is hosting the event which starts at 6pm at Queen Margaret College, 53 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington. More information can be found on the IPENZ website.
Protect yourself online: secure all devices
The recent high profile ‘hack’ of some iPhone owners’ iCloud accounts by ‘Oleg Pliss’ is another reminder of how essential it is to apply good computers security practices to all your connected devices.
NetSafe recently published guidance on smartphone security with 12 Tips for Protecting Your Digital Device as evidence is emerging of new variants of ransom malware now being developed for Android smartphones and tablets.
Whilst news media reported yesterday that Russian authorities may have caught the ransom gang behind the Apple ID hack, it’s essential that New Zealanders use Connect Smart Week as an opportunity to review their online safety and security.