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Experts: Don’t reboot your computer after you’ve been infected with ransomware

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Image: jules_88 on Pixabay

Security experts don’t recommend that users reboot their computers after suffering a ransomware infection, as this could help the malware in certain circumstances.

Instead, experts recommend that victims power down the computer, disconnect it from their network, and reach out to a professional IT support firm.

Experts are recommending against PC reboots because a recent survey of 1,180 US adults who fell victim to ransomware in the past years has shown that almost 30% of victims chose to reboot their computers as a way to deal with the infection.

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Image: Simoiu et al.

But while rebooting in safe mode is a good way of removing older screenlocker types of ransomware, it is not recommended when dealing with modern ransomware versions that encrypt files.

“Generally, the [ransomware] executable that actually encrypts your data is designed to crawl through attached, mapped and mounted drives to a given machine. Sometimes it trips, or is blocked by a permission issue and will stop encrypting,” Bill Siegel, CEO & Co-Founder of Coveware, a company that provides ransomware data recovery services told ZDNet in an email this week.

“If you reboot the machine, it will start back up and try to finish the job,” Siegel said.

“A partially encrypted machine is only partially encrypted due to some fortunate error or issue, so victims should take advantage and NOT let the malware finish its job…don’t reboot!”

Siegel told ZDNet the advice applies to both enterprise and home users alike.

Further, ransomware victims should also take note that there are two stages of a ransomware recovery process they have to go through.

The first is finding the ransomware’s artifacts — such as processes and boot persistence mechanisms — and removing them from an infected host.

Second is restoring the data if a backup mechanism is available.

Siegel warns that when companies miss or skip on the first step, rebooting the computer often restarts the ransomware’s process and ends up encrypting the recently-restored files, meaning victims will have to restart the data recovery process from scratch.

In the case of enterprises, this increases downtime and costs the company operating profits.

To learn more about dealing with ransomware attacks, you can check out the Emsisoft guide on how to remove ransomware and Coveware’s first response guide on dealing with a ransomware attack.



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Security

The Five Pillars of (Azure) Cloud-based Application Security

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This 1-hour webinar from GigaOm brings together experts in Azure cloud application migration and security, featuring GigaOm analyst Jon Collins and special guests from Fortinet, Director of Product Marketing for Public Cloud, Daniel Schrader, and Global Director of Public Cloud Architecture and Engineering, Aidan Walden.

These interesting times have accelerated the drive towards digital transformation, application rationalization, and migration to cloud-based architectures. Enterprise organizations are looking to increase efficiency, but without impacting performance or increasing risk, either from infrastructure resilience or end-user behaviors.

Success requires a combination of best practice and appropriate use of technology, depending on where the organization is on its cloud journey. Elements such as zero-trust access and security-driven networking need to be deployed in parallel with security-first operations, breach prevention and response.

If you are looking to migrate applications to the cloud and want to be sure your approach maximizes delivery whilst minimizing risk, this webinar is for you.

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Security

Data Management and Secure Data Storage for the Enterprise

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This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in data management and security, featuring GigaOm Analyst Enrico Signoretti and special guest from RackTop Systems, Jonathan Halstuch. The discussion will focus on data storage and how to protect data against cyberattacks.

Most of the recent news coverage and analysis of cyberattacks focus on hackers getting access and control of critical systems. Yet rarely is it mentioned that the most valuable asset for the organizations under attack is the data contained in these systems.

In this webinar, you will learn about the risks and costs of a poor data security management approach, and how to improve your data storage to prevent and mitigate the consequences of a compromised infrastructure.

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CISO Podcast: Talking Anti-Phishing Solutions

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Simon Gibson earlier this year published the report, “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” which assessed more than a dozen security solutions focused on detecting and mitigating email-borne threats and vulnerabilities. As Gibson noted in his report, email remains a prime vector for attack, reflecting the strategic role it plays in corporate communications.

Earlier this week, Gibson’s report was a featured topic of discussions on David Spark’s popular CISO Security Vendor Relationship Podcast. In it, Spark interviewed a pair of chief information security officers—Mike Johnson, CISO for SalesForce, and James Dolph, CISO for Guidewire Software—to get their take on the role of anti-phishing solutions.

“I want to first give GigaOm some credit here for really pointing out the need to decide what to do with detections,” Johnson said when asked for his thoughts about selecting an anti-phishing tool. “I think a lot of companies charge into a solution for anti-phishing without thinking about what they are going to do when the thing triggers.”

As Johnson noted, the needs and vulnerabilities of a large organization aligned on Microsoft 365 are very different from those of a smaller outfit working with GSuite. A malicious Excel macro-laden file, for example, poses a credible threat to a Microsoft shop and therefore argues for a detonation solution to detect and neutralize malicious payloads before they can spread and morph. On the other hand, a smaller company is more exposed to business email compromise (BEC) attacks, since spending authority is often spread among many employees in these businesses.

Gibson’s radar report describes both in-line and out-of-band solutions, but Johnson said cloud-aligned infrastructures argue against traditional in-line schemes.

“If you put an in-line solution in front of [Microsoft] 365 or in front of GSuite, you are likely decreasing your reliability, because you’ve now introduced this single point of failure. Google and Microsoft have this massive amount of reliability that is built in,” Johnson said.

So how should IT decision makers go about selecting an anti-phishing solution? Dolph answered that question with a series of questions of his own:

“Does it nail the basics? Does it fit with the technologies we have in place? And then secondarily, is it reliable, is it tunable, is it manageable?” he asked. “Because it can add a lot overhead, especially if you have a small team if these tools are really disruptive to the email flow.”

Dolph concluded by noting that it’s important for solutions to provide insight that can help organizations target their protections, as well as support both training and awareness around threats. Finally, he urged organizations to consider how they can measure the effectiveness of solutions.

“I may look at other solutions in the future and how do I compare those solutions to the benchmark of what we have in place?”

Listen to the Podcast: CISO Podcast

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