Keep Making Those Data Backups (or Ransomware Will Still Get You)

A long time ago, when children played with toys that needed no batteries, their parents would tell them if they didn’t behave, the bogeyman would get them. Afterwards, the children grew up and discovered the bogeyman never existed or had died eons earlier.

But ransomware is no bogeyman and reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated! Just a couple of months ago, one of the biggest waves of infecting emails in 2017 went out with the Locky ransomware.

Forking out the ransom is not a solution. Solid data backup routines continue to be the base of effective protection and disaster recovery. If you don’t think so, the following may help to change your mind.

Ransomware is clearly still of interest to cybercriminals, which suggests that they are still making money out of it. We discount sabotage as a motivation. Which in turn suggests that users and organisations are paying the money, because they have no other choice.

Yet security software vendor McAfee went on record to say that a) “meeting hackers’ demands is not a guarantee that you won’t be hit again”, and b) “giving in to hackers’ demands silently and not alerting cyber-security authorities will only make you a preferred future target.”

However, data backups need to be done properly. The 3-2-1 rule is often cited. It’s the basis for many effective disaster recovery procedures for anything from ransomware scrapes to human error writing stale data over fresh records. The rule goes like this:

  • Make at least three copies of the data you back up
  • Use at least two different formats
  • Keep one of the copies off-site

Is that enough? Not quite. You’ll also need regular tests of backups to prove you can recover systems and become operational again from backup data alone. If you cannot recover, you’ll have to adjust your backup routines till you can.

Yes, it’s time and effort, but better that than letting the ransomware bogeyman get you.

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