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    Encrypted backup kicks ransomware to the curb




    ON SECURITY

    Encrypted backup kicks ransomware to the curb


    By Dennis O'Reilley

    As a long-time Windows user, you follow the advice of security experts for avoiding ransomware. So the popup announcing that your files have been encrypted comes as a complete and very nasty surprise. Here's how to ransom-proof your data.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/encrypted-backup-kicks-ransomware-to-the-curb (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    There is also TeamDrive, free 2GB or paid.

    cheers, Paul

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    I keep backups of four different computers on external drives, each had its own. If I keep them disconnected when not making a backup will that offer protection, and allow me to use the backups if I ever get ransom ware on my computers? All computers, two for me and two for my husband, are on the home network. If one is hit with ransom ware will all of them be hit at the same time?
    Thanks
    Phyllis

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    Not very helpful. 2GB? YOu could backup 2GB to a DVD. A lot of questions unanswered. I have four 2TB drives. I don't see how encrypting my folders helps - won't the ransomware be inside the encrypted folder?
    PARAGON Backup offers a capsule - an area on the disk not seen by the OS where backups are stored. I do a differential backup every night of about 500GB to the capsule on a separate internal drive - all automatically

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    WS Lounge VIP access-mdb's Avatar
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    Phyllis, I think the best answer is to not get ransomeware in the first place. That means being careful about any link you click on from an email, and where you go on the web. There are apps which are supposed to protect from ransomware - others are more qualified than me on here who can comment on this.
    Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand

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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Kathleen Atkins View Post



    ON SECURITY

    Encrypted backup kicks ransomware to the curb


    By Dennis O'Reilley

    As a long-time Windows user, you follow the advice of security experts for avoiding ransomware. So the popup announcing that your files have been encrypted comes as a complete and very nasty surprise. Here's how to ransom-proof your data.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/encrypted-backup-kicks-ransomware-to-the-curb (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Wouldn't the ransomware just encrypt the encrypted files?
    And then make the files unreadable?

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    Okay the encryption programs discussed in the column are good, but they wouldn't be any protection against ransomware, would they? It seems like my encrypted files would just have another layer of encryption imposed by the ransomware. I'd still have to pay or lose the files.

    I have my files backed up to a second internal disk, an external NAS and a cloud service. Paranoid? Maybe. But I'm not sure even that would protect me from ransomware.

    Wouldn't it depend on the timing of the ransomware, how long it takes to encrypt your data and how soon it denies you access? I get it that my cloud service would start replacing good files with ransomware encrypted ones, but wouldn't that take basically forever? And how sophisticated is the ransomware -- would it know to look in all those places?

    Just wondering.

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    Erik

    You're right that timing is important. My one direct experience of ransomware was when someone at work got infected. It kept quiet but started encrypting all the files on his network mapped drives. It didn't finish before we caught it, when someone else tried to open a document that had been encrypted, but by that time it had been running for a day and some of the encrypted files were in the backup. so we had to go back to the previous day's media.

    As well as having a backup you need to rotate the media so that you have a better chance of getting files back if the most recent backup is corrupted.

    I think the point of encrypted cloud file store is so that you still keep control of your data, no matter where the servers reside. Encrypting the storage does not stop ransomware messing with any file it can see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdriggs View Post
    I keep backups of four different computers on external drives, each had its own. If I keep them disconnected when not making a backup will that offer protection, and allow me to use the backups if I ever get ransom ware on my computers? All computers, two for me and two for my husband, are on the home network. If one is hit with ransom ware will all of them be hit at the same time?
    Thanks
    Phyllis
    The one I saw spread through clicking a link to a compromised web site and ran in user mode so no other computers on the LAN were affected. However that doesn't mean they couldn't have been. It depends on the infection vector that the ransomware uses, just like any other malware.

    As for your external drives, if the ransomware can see them then it will encrypt whatever files it can find. If the drive is disconnected then the files will be safe. But the sequence may be: computer gets infected, encryption starts, drive connected, backup run, drive disconnected, encryption finishes, ransomware popup appears. In that case at least some of the files in your backup will be inaccessible.

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    2 Star Lounger bmeacham's Avatar
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    Encryption adds no protection against ransomware. Multiple backups are a must. I leave my backup disks unattached until I want to run a backup, typically at the end of the day. Then I plug them in and run backup. If I get hit my ransomware (which I haven't yet, as I practice safe computing), the files on my backup disks would not be affected.
    Bill Meacham
    bmeacham98 AT yahoo.com

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    My USB 3 external backup stays plugged in but powered off until I make a backup. All I have to do is flip the power switch and it's ready.

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    Does ransomware have any way to disturb backups that are provided by the iDrive backup system?

    Of course the encrypted version of some of my files might be "saved" into my iDrive account but iDrive keeps multiple versions of each file so hopefully there would be a pre-encryption version there that could be used for restoring my stuff.

    Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by lumpy95 View Post
    My USB 3 external backup stays plugged in but powered off until I make a backup. All I have to do is flip the power switch and it's ready.
    This thread is not very encouraging. If ransomeware is present, then it sounds like even a backup drive connected for a short while is apt to get hit.

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    Encryption does not protect you

    Quote Originally Posted by bmeacham View Post
    Encryption adds no protection against ransomware. Multiple backups are a must. I leave my backup disks unattached until I want to run a backup, typically at the end of the day. Then I plug them in and run backup. If I get hit my ransomware (which I haven't yet, as I practice safe computing), the files on my backup disks would not be affected.
    This advice is probably the best. Dennis O'Reilly article misleads you into thinking encryption will protect you.

    A little while ago I asked Acronis if their encrypted backup files could be encrypted by a virus and was told it could be.
    I interpreted this to mean an encrypted file can be encrypted again and then if the second time it was cryptolocker, then you are still in a pickle.

    Furthermore backup files are often one large file and it might be quicker to encrypt that, than lots of smaller files. In a recent case a customer had 160,000 data files and the crypto virus only managed to get through 85,000 of them before it was stopped, because their encryption is relatively slow.

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    Well that article tells me I am doing the right thing by NOT backing up to the cloud. I have 3 little USB 3.0 1 tb HDs. I perform daily backups of everything vital at my business, occasional backups at home. I rotate the drives once a week with one plugged in at my business, two in a drawer at the house. Simpler and safer IMHO.

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