Back in January we wrote about CryptoLocker and the experts’ predictions of the proliferation of ransomware.  Unfortunately those predictions have proven to be correct.  Not only are more systems becoming infected, the scope of vulnerable systems has expanded to include Macs as well as mobile devices. The possibility of becoming a Ransomware victim is unfortunately getting more likely.

But first, let’s recap: What is ransomware?  First introduced back in 2009, ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your data so you can’t access it.  The criminals responsible for the infection then demand a ransom to decrypt the data.  The ransoms can range anywhere from $300 to $600.

If you’re backing up your files in Google Drive you may think you’re safe from ransomware because you have a backup in the Cloud.  However, that’s actually not true.  If your local system becomes infected with ransomware, the files on your local hard drive will be encrypted (i.e. locked).  At some point your computer will sync with Google Drive and overwrite your previously open files with the new encrypted files and your backup will now be just as inaccessible as the files on your local system.  You may also think it’s only Windows systems that get infected with malware and that you’re safe if you’re using a Mac.  Wrong again!  Cybercriminals have ported ransomware to OS X so you’re not safe there whether you’re using a PC or a Mac.  Cybercriminals will target wherever the users go so as Macs become an more acceptable alternative to PCs in the enterprise, cybercriminals will go increasingly target that platform.

CryptoLocker brought in an estimated $30 million in its first 100 days in operation. With such a profitable model it’s very likely that additional forms of ransomware will continue to appear.  Recently, the New York Times reported that days after CryptoLocker was shut down by federal authorities another version of ransomware, Cryptowall has been released as a kit meaning that the attackers are not limited to those who actually wrote the software but to anyone who purchases the kit.  So this threat is not likely to go away anytime soon.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

The Cryptowall virus and ransomware in general are prime examples of the need for cloud-to-cloud backup.  Cloud-to-cloud backup solutions offer a secure, second copy of your data.  With cloud-to-cloud backup, all prior versions, a.k.a the unencrypted/non-ransomed version of each file is safely stored and can be accessed at any time.  In the example above, you would be able to clean your local system and then go back and restore your unencrypted files, thereby bringing your system back to its pre-infection state.

Backupify protects the files that you store in the cloud from malware such as CryptoLocker and other risks such as accidental deletion or corruption. Like we said earlier, it’s better to be safe than sorry!