The SiliconRepublic.Com and RTE both report today that the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation is investigating a number of incidents where businesses in the west and midlands of Ireland have been targeted by online criminals.  Apparently the criminals have accessed the computer systems of the affected businesses and encrypted important business information belonging to those businesses thereby making it unavailable to them.  The criminals are looking for a sum of $700 to provide the victims with the key to decrypt their information.

The Gardai have asked that any businesses that have suffered this attack to make themselves known to the Gardai.

In the abscense of knowing the details of how the criminals were able to gain access to the affected systems I recommend the following steps to protect your company falling victim to the attack;

  • Ensure you have a robust firewall installed on your network to protect it from unauthorised access from the Internet.
  • Ensure your anti-virus software is up to date and has the latest signatures.
  • Make sure all your software have all the latest security patches installed.
  • Educate your users so they do not fall for online social engineering scams and they do not open attachments or click on links in emails that they are not expecting.
  • Check your critical security logs for any suspicious behaviour.
  • Ensure users only have access to data that they absolutely only need access to.
  • Make regular backups of your software and data.  In the event you fall victim to the attack you can recover your information from a recent backup.
  • Regularly test your backups to make sure that they are working and that you can restore from them

About the Author: bhimport

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