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How to prepare for (and prevent) ransomware attacks

Paul Mah | June 24, 2016
The only sure way to protect yourself or your company from 'ransomware' is with foolproof file backups. These three backup options can all help recover from ransomware attacks.

Microsoft's OneDrive and Dropbox are two cloud storage options that could potentially help protect your files from ransomware. OneDrive saves all versions of Office documents, though they can eat up users' or organizations' allotments of Microsoft storage space. The consumer version of Dropbox saves unlimited file revisions for up to 30 days, and Dropbox for Business saves unlimited versions for as long as customers continue to pay for the service. Of course, sifting through even a moderate number of files for uncorrupted copies can be extremely time consuming.

dropbox
Dropbox for Business lets users right-click on files from a web interface and select the 'Previous versions' option to access all file revisions.

The viability of cloud backups varies significantly based on many factors, including the cloud provider’s infrastructure, the bandwidth available to users, and the amount of data that needs to be recovered. Large backups coupled with slow data-transfer rates can mean lengthy recovery times. Cloud services can also sometimes restore backups in which the crypto malware is already active, resulting in more encryption and ransom demands.

The three strategies outlined here are not meant to be exhaustive, and some aren't necessarily suitable for specific industry verticals or IT infrastructures. However, the increasing prevalence of ransomware means all individuals and organizations should evaluate and eventually implement backup strategies sooner than later. You can read more about how to create a robust cloud backup strategy on CIO.com.

 

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