The Cryptowall Virus is spreading despite antivirus protections
2014 has become the Year of Ransomware, as the Cryptowall virus alone has already infected over half a million PCs since its introduction onto the scene. In order to protect your own PC, it’s important to know exactly where the Cryptowall Virus is coming from – many times, it is not through the normal means of email links and poor browsing habits.
Malvertisements: A New Route of Infection for the Cryptowall Virus
The internet has no shortage of advertisers. Banner ads are prevalent on almost every site, as they help pay for the cost of hosting the services that you use over the internet. Recently, however, malvertising has infested reputable ad networks. Sites such as Yahoo, Match.com, AOL and others have fallen victim to ads whose purpose is to spread the Cryptowall Virus. They do so by creating a banner ad for relevant services to create legitimacy, but are infected with code that exploit vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash. These ads may in fact take you to the site they promise, but even before your browser is in transit, the infection has already occurred.
You Can Become Infected Without Clicking a Link!
Through these exploits, a shiny, sparkly ad on the side of your browser might be running Flash or Java code that will circumvent all of your protections unless your network programs are updated with the latest security patches. Malware makers are now relying on the average PC user to ignore update requests from pieces of software such as Flash and Java, and when they do, just browsing to one of these malicious animations disguised as ads is enough for malware to infiltrate your system.
“Set it and Forget it” – Not a Good Idea
Unfortunately, many times updating software such as Java and Flash do not occur automatically. Instead, they present you with the option to install the needed update. The problem is, many users do not wish to update through this fashion because malware also disguises itself as these updates! This means you need to adopt a plan to keep everything updated, and the safest course of action is to install the updates directly from their website, and not from these notifications.
Business PCs are Most at Risk
With the network capabilities of the Cryptowall virus, this puts business PCs at the most risk. With more than a few workstations networked to a server, the routes for exposure greatly increase – especially if browsing is allowed in your business organization. If you don’t have a backup of your vital business data, then you may find yourself thinking about paying this ransom. The best defense, in addition to a coherent patch management policy, is to have daily, versioned backups of your vital data.
Schedule or Automate your Updates
Every week, a handful of programs should be updated to address security flaws in addition to your Operating System. Exposures can occur not only through Flash and Java, but also through Adobe Reader, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Chrome, or any other software which utilizes the network capabilities of your PC. If you do not have the labor hours in your business to devote to weekly updates on your PCs for these pieces of software, updates can be automated through the use of your IT team, which can regularly apply these patches and report back to you when critical updates are applied.
Get More Information
You can contact us for a free written policy that can help you document your update process. Or, if you desire automation so that you truly can “set it and forget it”, let us know. Patch management is required by HIPAA for medical and dental practices, and it is now as important as antivirus when protecting your PCs against malware such as the Cryptowall virus. If you have more than a handful of workstations, we advise finding an automated and reportable approach to keeping these programs up to date and secure.