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GSMA real-time intelligence data estimates there are now over 5.15 Billion people worldwide with mobile devices. With over 66% of the world’s population having a mobile device (cell phone, tablet or cellular enabled IoT devices) security is becoming a top priority for both businesses and individuals. Furthermore, as the number of devices continues to increase at record rates, so too do the threats from cybercriminals. One of the biggest threats to devices today is Malware. The McAfee Mobile Threat Report estimates the average person has 60-90 apps installed on their phone. These apps can do anything; online banking, controlling home heating, gaming, and help us work more efficiently. But our love of apps comes at a price. Symantec research found an average of 10,573 malicious apps are blocked each day. Additionally, the research found 1 in 36 mobile devices have high risk apps installed – in other words,  Malware.

What is mobile malware?

Mobile malware targets the operating systems on your phone for the purposes of doing “malicious things”. It includes spyware, adware, drive-by downloads, viruses, trojans, phishing, and browser exploitation. Even if your app isn’t malware, it may be susceptible. Research suggests that 76% of apps have insecure data storage, making them a popular target for cybercriminals.

5 ways your mobile device gets malware

SecurityMetrics highlights the top ways your mobile device gets malware.

  1. Downloading malicious apps – Malicious apps contain spyware or other types of malware designed to cause havoc with your system and steal data. Downloading apps from unfamiliar sources or in some cases even legitimate app stores can give you more than your bargained for.
  2. Ignoring regular operating system updates – We all do it, but the fact of the matter is ignoring regular operating systems updates exposes us to vulnerabilities and puts our devices at risk.
  3. Opening suspicious emails – Opening suspicious emails, and clicking links, or downloading files can guarantee a bad outcome.
  4. Using non-secure Wi-Fi/URLs – Public Wi-Fi and insecure websites increase your exposure to malware. You run the risk of exposing sensitive data transmitted from your device, as well as, being more susceptible to “man-in-the-middle attacks”.
  5. Receiving text message/vmail phishing – Just like in an email no legitimate source is going to ask for personal information about you or your device in a text message or vmail.

5 ways to protect your mobile device from malware

  1. Update, Update, Update – Ensure you keep your operating system and apps up to date with the latest versions of software. This guarantees your device has the latest security patches and critical software updates.
  2. Consider a VPN – A virtual private network (VPN) provides a secure way for you to access and share information over public Wi-Fi networks.
  3. Utilize mobile security software – Mobile security software prevents your phone from being infected with viruses and malware. It is similar to how antivirus software protects your computer.
  4. Download from trusted sources – Download from official app stores and only from reputable app creators (think companies).  Be skeptical of free apps that give you free things.
  5. Train employees – Regularly train your employees on cybersecurity, including mobile device security. Additionally, make sure you have security policies in place that include the use of mobile devices.

Backing up your data to the cloud won’t prevent mobile malware threats, however it ensures your data is protected. Regularly backup all of your important data – Implement an easy to use endpoint backup and protection solution like Data Deposit Box. Try it for free here.

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Malware threats are on the rise! So how are these viruses, worms, and trojans continuing to infiltrate businesses around the world? We break it down in this informative infographic!

Top 7 Weaknesses Malware Exploits

(View infographic as a PDF)

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Does having antivirus software on your computer protect you and your data from cyberthreats? What else should you be doing? Backups, software updates, firewalls, there are lots of options to consider.

Let’s start with a few basic definitions:

Virus – A small program or piece of computer code that alters the way a computer operates without the knowledge or permission of the user. A computer virus executes and replicates itself.  The worst computer viruses of all time include ILOVEYOU, Melissa, WannaCry, CryptoLocker, Conflicker, Mydoom, and Shamoon.

Antivirus software – Helps protect your computer against malware and cybercriminals. Antivirus software looks at data traveling over the network to your devices and searches for known threats and monitors the behavior of all programs, flagging suspicious behavior. The most popular (based on market share) antivirus software includes Avast, Microsoft, ESET, Symantec, and AVG.

Backup – Backing up your files is one way copying – a snapshot of a version of a file or data, from one location to another (computer drive to hard drive, computer drive to file server or NAS, computer drive to cloud drive), at a specific point in time. It is used to protect a file, in case of loss or corruption. If a user wants access to a backed up file, they will often have to restore that file to their computer, from their backup. The most popular backup products are Data Deposit Box, iDrive, Carbonite, Acronis, AWS Backup, Azure, Google Drive and iCloud.

Firewall – A network security system that monitors and controls incoming and outgoing traffic on your network. The most popular firewall products for business includes Barracuda, Bitdefender, Cato Networks, Kaspersky, and FortiGate.

An Overview of Antivirus

Antivirus software is a key element of any cybersecurity strategy; but, it does have limitations. Traditional antivirus software is becoming less and less effective. 73% of attendees at Black Hat in 2017 felt traditional antivirus software no longer services a purpose. In the past antivirus software could protect against 80-90% of security threats but now it is believed to protect against less than 10% of threats. A 2018 report from McAfee found there were an average of 480 malware attacks a minute. The reality is cybercriminals are savvy and have found other ways to gain entry onto computers and networks, ranging from Adware to phishing to sophisticated malware.

Limitations of traditional antivirus software:

  • It’s reactionary – Antivirus software countermeasures only start when malicious code or a virus is found. As a result, it may be too late, unless you’ve backed up using versioning.
  • Needs regular updates – Hackers are always one step ahead of the Antivirus software companies. Unless you’re updating almost real-time, you could be exposed.
  • Performance issues – Antivirus software runs continuously in the background. As a result, it requires a significant amount of memory and resources.  This can have a significant impact on the speed of your PC and/or network.
  • Human negligence – Even the best antivirus software can’t protect against people who aren’t educated about malware and internet security practices. Often, infections occur through poor computing practices.  Learn more about what NOT to do here.

An Overview of Backups

Backup refers to the one way copying of data (folders & files) from one location to another. Generally, most users and small businesses backup files to external hard drives, servers, or the cloud. Backing up is the most reliable way to protect your data and ensure business continuity when you experience major problems such as hardware failures, viruses, or natural disasters. Various software and services automate the process of backing up at the schedule you determine. Cloud based backup services eliminate the need for you to have the necessary infrastructure in your business.

Not all backups are equal.  To backup properly, your backups must use versioning.  Versioning ensures incremental backups of changed documents – storing different versions as it changes over time.

Data Deposit Box provides cloud backup protection and peace of mind – guaranteed. With Data Deposit Box you can backup and manage everything with one app. You can backup an unlimited number of devices to your account, including Windows and Mac OS servers and computers, iOS and Android mobile phones, Synology and QNAP NAS devices.

Antivirus + Backups = Excellent Protection

A combination of antivirus software and cloud-based, versioned backups will provide you with the confidence that your important data is safe from hardware failures, viruses and natural disasters.

Follow these best practices to protect yourself and your data:

  • Stay up to date – Keep your devices and their software (antivirus, OS, firmware, applications) up to date. Schedule 10 minutes in your calendar each day to check for updates.
  • Use firewalls – Install firewalls on routers and devices.
  • Backup to the cloud, with versioning – Implement a cloud backup solution to ensure your important data and files are safe, and ensure you have versioning turned on.
  • Education – People are one of the weakest links when it comes to cybersecurity, as a result make sure you EDUCATE!!

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To understand malware and ransomware we need to first define what each is. Let’s start with the basic definitions:

Malware is a broad term describing any malicious code or program, including viruses, worms, and trojans, that provide an attacker with control over your computer, server or network.

Ransomware is a type of malware which takes full control of your system and requires a ransom payment to regain access.

Taking a closer look at Malware

Symantec breaks down the different ways malware infects targeted computers:

  • A worm is a malicious program that replicates itself and spreads from one computer to another without a host file. Worms are frequently found in files, however in this case the entire host file is considered the worm.
  •  A virus is a small program or piece of computer code that alters the way a computer operates without the knowledge or permission of the user. A computer virus executes and replicates itself.
  •  A trojan horse is an imposter, a program or files that appear to be something you need but in reality is malicious. Unlike a virus a trojan does not replicate itself. Rather, you invite it onto your computer, most commonly by opening an email attachment.

Where does ransomware fit in?

As noted above ransomware is a type of malware which takes full control of your system and requires a ransom payment to regain access. In some cases, ransomware threatens to publish confidential data unless a ransom is paid.

Norton breaks down the different types of ransomware:

  • Crypto malware – This type of ransomware encrypts files to extort money. The WannaCry ransomware is likely one of the most recognizable examples of crypto malware. It targeted thousands of computers around the world and spread quickly through corporate networks across the globe.
  • Lockers –  This type of ransomware infects your operating system and completely locks you out of your computer.
  • Scareware – A fake software that represents itself like an antivirus or a cleaning tool. It typically claims to have found issues on your computer and demands money to resolve the issue.
  • Doxware – This type of ransomware is often referred to as leakware and it threatens to publish your stolen information online unless a ransom is paid.
  • RaaS – “Ransomware as a Service” is malware hosted anonymously by a hacker. The distribution, payment collection, and file decryption are all handled by a hacker in exchange for a portion of the ransom.

How do you protect yourself?

Malware and ransomware continue to have significant impact on individuals and organizations around the globe. Here are a few key things you can do to help protect yourself:

  • Backup your data
  • Use security software
  • Regularly update your software and systems
  • Be wary of email attachments
  • Educate your employees

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The battle against cybervillains is the purest definition of an unfair fight. In most cases, your only response is to be reactionary; they attack, and you react. They then look at the countermeasures you’ve taken to block them, and then formulate an attack from another direction. It’s time to face facts: in today’s tech age, you and your network are veritable “sitting ducks” in the never-ending pond of cyberspace.
Or are you? For as cunning and adaptive as hackers may seem, software developers and data storage and protection providers have proven to be just as adept at countering their incursions. The moment an attacker has played his or her hand, the clock begins to tick on the window of time the virus in play has to be successful.

What is CryptoLocker Ransomware?

Take the recent run of the CryptoLocker ransomware virus. This nasty little bug was first unleashed on the world in late 2013. Carried via infected email attachments, this crypto virus has its own unique way of bringing the flow of data on your drive to a screeching halt:

  • Once activated, CryptoLocker releases an encryption key stored on its own server
  • The malware searches for any available stored and mounted network drives and encrypts the data within
  • The data is then essentially held for ransom by the CryptoLocker operator, with an error message displaying an option for the user to pay to have the data decrypted

In many instances, victims opted to pay to have their data released, believing that it was easier than having to work through the process of having to recover it from backup files. To date, CryptoLocker attacks are said to have cost users over $3 million worldwide.

Proactive Protection

Yet for as fast and furious as the CryptoLocker ransomware’s rise was, it’s free reign on unsuspecting networks was short-lived. Even before international cyber task forces seized the private keys used by the malware in the summer of 2014, data storage companies were able to develop backup tools to help easily recover and replace data files that had been subjected to malicious encryption.
Even though CryptoLocker remains a threat to your network, we can empower you with right tools to overcome it. MyData, the point-in-time restoration tool found on our web portal, allows you maximum protection against a ransomware attack. Our hybrid backup solutions place your data in multiple locations, both in the Cloud and on remote copies. As your attackers sit and stew hoping that you’ll simply cave to their demands, you need only to select a date and time in MyData and wait for it to recover your files from your many backup sources. Proactive antivirus protection can then help ensure that your drives are not left vulnerable to attack again.
There’s plenty out there in the virtual world for you to worry about. Without the right protective tools at your disposal, your personal and network drives are a literal shmorgishborg of sensitive data just waiting to be picked over or compromised by online baddies. Fortunately, we here at Data Deposit Box have the solutions that you’ve been searching for. As one of the fastest growing providers of Cloud backup and data recovery services in the industry, we can help to ensure that you’re protected against the threats posed by CryptoLocker ransomware and other viruses of its kind. This isn’t a fight you have to face alone.

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