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April 13, 2017
Ransomware is attacking all industries, but healthcare is one of the key targets. Why? What better place than a hospital to demand money, since if it is not paid, the hospital cannot access their computers. Ransomware is as it sounds. It is typically enacted from a phishing scam, that is, it is sent via email and waits for someone to click on it. It then locks the computers on your network with a message stating if you want your computers released then you have to pay “x” number of bitcoins. There are only three ways to address the data and endpoints infected by ransomware; restore the data, rewrite the data, or pay the ransom.
The Short End of a Very Long Stick
Somebody in the organization decided to click on a link they think is from HR, but they did not look closely at the email and now the entire network is locked. A virus has been released and it encrypts all your data and endpoints in the network. There is a message stating you have to pay a certain amount of money to gain access to your data and the functionality of your computers.
You have decided to not pay the hackers, and instead to fix the problem. The average time for IT to fix a ransomware problem is 12 hours. That is also the amount of downtime you can expect in the process. If it works the first time. Your IT guys do not know how long this virus has been sitting in the servers. The virus may activate on a certain date, which may have been a week ago. Now, when you back up, if you don’t go far enough back you will have to do it again. Not to mention, all the data you lost.
Even if you pay the ransom, the IT guys have to dig into the network and find what triggered the event. Learn a better way:
Does an Antivirus Help?
New research is showing that antivirus software only catches ransomware about 50% of the time. According to KnowBe4, a company that specializes in ransomware awareness, “On the average, 33% of businesses have experienced a ransomware attack in the last year… and that every organization has some type of protection in place, it’s evident that the solutions in place aren’t 100% effective. Surely, it’s just the lesser known solutions, right? Wrong.”
KnowBe4 has a ransomware simulator they have run on more than 500 company’s machines, and only 52% were able to detect it was present. Many of the healthcare companies have the same antivirus software installed, and still, it may or may not detect the virus.
IT outsourcing cannot stop the virus from getting into your network since they cannot control what your users do. Training must be performed regularly to make sure employees really understand not to click on that link. The advantage to IT outsourcing is the quick turnaround if ransomware gets on your machine. They use a tiered backup, so it is much easier to find which backup is still good. Depending on the contract you sign for your backup options, the service provider may have backups from just hours prior.
Remember, when you use an IT outsourcing provider, your servers are located elsewhere in the cloud, so it becomes much harder for them to get infected. In some cases, a managed provider could have your system back up and running in just a couple of hours. Subscribe to the TOSS C3 blog and find out more about ransomware attacks.
IT outsourcing is no cure for the ransomware attacks, but it is the best solution when it comes to retrieving your data. This type of problem can fall into the disaster recovery plan, which is something you and your IT provider should have ironed out before disaster strikes your clinic or hospital. Get a free assessment, and find out how TOSS can help you prevent and/or recover from ransomware attacks. Request a quote today.
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