Protect What You Value Most: Your Unique Data

One of the themes of this and last year is the surprising prominence of malware serving little purpose besides corrupting the data you need and demanding money to restore that data to you. Of course – as we’ve always said with ransomware and other schemes – there is no guarantee that you’ll ever see malware encrypted or blocked data ever again, even if you do pay the ransom. Although, as we learned at Black Hat this year, the crew behind CryptoLocker was fairly true to their word in this respect.

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Still it is better to not pay $300 to a criminal organization for data that belongs to you in the first place, which is precisely why now — rather than post-infection — is the time to plan for data loss. I’m not going to sit here and tell you with any degree of confidence that one of your devices will become infected, because I just don’t know. What I will tell you is that CryptoLocker is a total nightmare and that it is by no means the only malware threatening your data.

Even without malware, there is no shortage of ways for us all to lose the information we need. Corrupted hard-drives are as much a nightmare as CryptoLocker. So is dropping your phone in the pool, having your tablet stolen, losing a gadget or any number of other maladies that ultimately rob you of the data you need and rely on.

It is better to not pay $300 to a criminal organization for data that belongs to you in the first place

The first thing you need to do is make sure you are performing regular back-ups of the data you care about. If you have a Mac, Apple’s Time Machine function along with a dedicated external hard-drive will perform these backups for you. Windows, of course, has an automatic backup feature as well.

In fact, the smarter among us are working with multiple backups; one you control (like and external hard drive) and one you don’t control (like a trusted cloud storage provider). This way, if something improbably terrible happens, like your computer becomes infected with and/or destroyed by malware that somehow also corrupts the external hard-drive connected to your machine, you have a third, cloud-based recovery option.

The other side of the equation is preventing an infection before it happens. There are two ways of doing this: one is to be smart about what you click on and intentionally or inadvertently download on your computer. The pitfall here is that we’re only humans. Humans make mistakes — not to mention cybercriminals aren’t dumb. They make a living off tricking people like us into installing bad things on our computers. So the other way of preventing infection is to let the machines do it for you by installing a trusted security solution.

We recommend Kaspersky Internet Security Multi-Device – or as we affectionately call it — KIS MD (kiss-emm-dee). This is going to protect all of your devices from nearly any threat or infection. The Kaspersky Security Network is always running, always vigilant. If a new virus pops up on a Kaspersky protected machine in New Zealand, the KSN writes a detection signature for it and you are protected in mere minutes, wherever you are. The likelihood of any of your devices becoming infected by a virus unknown to the KSN is astronomically low. Even if you are infected, KIS MD will remove the infection on any device running the solution.

If you follow all these instructions, you’ll be protected against malware that could hurt your machines and the data on them, but you also have contingency plans in place if the unlikely occurs.

With security, a little bit of thinking goes a long way.

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