Byte Me Article 148 – Invest in backup and protect your key files

Invest in Backup and Protect Your Key Files

At the risk of sounding boring – this is the third article in a row which has been written with the latest Internet threat – Cryptolocker – as the principle topic.  I also have to state again that the appearance of this threat, or Ransomware as it is most often called, heralds a new and worsening era of Internet related problems – to both businesses and private computer users.

Today we are going to deal more with backup systems that will protect you from this threat – even if you do get it on your PC.  For a deeper background on what Cryptolocker does and how it gets onto your PC in the first place, please get a hold of the last two Saturday editions of The Morning Bulletin.

One of the significant changes this latest threat has bought about is the need for a backup systems ability to be able to keep more than one ‘version’ of your files.  What I mean here, is that if you are currently backing up your important data to, for instance the one USB key and overwriting the previous backup then you don’t really have a backup system which will rescue you from Cryptolocker.

2013-10-26 Byte Me Article 148- Dealing with Cryptolocker

The reasoning here is that this latest threat tries to spread across ALL of the drives on your computer.  If your USB key goes to E or F drive for instance and if you are keeping a copy of your raw data on it then as soon as it is plugged in the backup files contained on it can be getting encrypted so that they are useless to you.

Further to this Cryptolocker has been written such that a computer user may not realise for a while that they have it and during this time they may perform a backup which overwrites the previous backup – destroying possibly the only good copy of their data that the user had left.  Nowadays a backup system need to keep at least two versions of your files – which includes at least a daily backup as well as for instance a weekly backup.

If you are using a simplified backup system such as the one we have sold and supplied to many customers for many years – using an external USB drive and our Kerr Solutions “one click backup software” then we are now suggesting that you have at least two of these devices and rotate them either daily or weekly.

There are also more complex backup systems that are not as user friendly but even more effective against the ravages of Cryptolocker.  These systems will both compress your data as well as offering their own encryption – effectively keeping Cryptolocker out of your backup files.  Once again – even these more complex systems need to be configured to keep multiple copies (versions) of your files with ‘restore’ points that can go back in time at least a week.

We have many customers using backup systems that keep as many as 6 months’ worth of twice daily restore points.  Yes – we could restore all of their files to a date in time 6 months prior to today!  Unfortunately all of these ‘backup’ systems will become more common place and ALL computer users will have to become more familiar with them due to the emergence of these latest Internet threats.

Next week I will discuss the more recently bandied ‘cloud’ solutions and will show how many of them are also failing at keeping your data safe from the likes of Cryptolocker! 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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