uninterrupted and expensive fun. Moreover, never underestimate hackers. Your “going in” assumption should
be that they are brilliant, persistent, and cunning. They
only need succeed once. You need to defend thousands of times and multiple entry points.
Bottom line: surgical removal of malware should
be considered very carefully, done by experienced
cybersecurity people, and can never be 100% guaranteed. One typically faces this type of solution when
backup is inadequate.
What is an adequate backup? Like most solutions,
there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” answer. It
depends on the data, the sensitivity of the information,
its life expectancy (yes, data has a life), usage, etc. Is it
encrypted to begin with? Should it be? And so on.
You hear tech people talking about “
disk-to-disk-to-cloud” solutions, “time machine,” and half-a-dozen
different vendors and products. They all have pluses
and minuses. You should have a conversation with
both your IT and your Cybersecurity professionals
(they are not, and should not, be the same person),
and arrive at a strategy and a solution that lets you
sleep at night. Always remember: You’re the only one
that can accept risk! No product or consultant can do
this for you.
The comments kept streaming in…
“I've got a malware program that sweeps my com-
puter numerous times a day for malware…”
“I just installed a second one, for good measure!”
Flu shot effectiveness varies year-by-year, strain-by-
strain. Why? Because a flu vaccine is made by taking
last year’s virus(es) and, after making them inert, creat-
ing a vaccine whose job is to tell your body to attack
any virus that looks like the vaccine. If you’re lucky, this
year’s vaccine “looks like” last year’s, and the inocula-
tion works! If not, then you spend a few weeks sneez-
ing and wheezing in misery.
Same story with the antivirus programs for computers. There are, of course, more sophisticated answers, programs that look for behaviors, for example,
or those that use artificial intelligence algorithms to
guess if a piece of software is good or bad. Are they
right for your environment? Perhaps. It all depends on
your risk appetite, type of data, and budget.
What’s the bottom line here? What are the best
practices you need to follow immediately?
1. Be vigilant. Recognize that this can happen to
you and make cybersecurity a priority. Stay informed, and be aware!
2. Use the best antivirus and anti-malware you
can buy. For example, BitDefender, McAfee, Sy-mantec, Sophos, Kaspersky, or Trend Micro would
make excellent picks.
3. Make sure you have reliable backups, and in
more than one place. Disk-to-disk-to-cloud is
fine and good (iBackup, Mozy, Axcient are some
examples of good backup vendors), but I recommend that once a month you backup to another
“air-gapped” disk and store it. Air-gapped means
that this disk is not connected to the internet. Ever.