Ransomware is at it again. According to a report by the Australian government, an astonishing 72% of companies were affected by Ransomware in 2015, a major increase from the seventeen percent of 2013.

Ransomware is a virus that enters a computer through a phishing email or fake download. It then blocks access to the computer until a ransom of one or two bitcoins ($500-750) is paid. Sometimes, it can be easily removed. But most times, the virus actually encrypts all of the computer's data, withholding the key until the ransom is paid. Since only the hackers have the key, there is no way to retrieve the data other than from a data backup.

In an embarrassing turn of events, a number of police departments have been targeted by Ransomware and were forced to pay, having no other way to retrieve their very important files. As reported in the Boston Globe, this includes the Tewksbury, MA, Swansea, MA, Midlothian, IL, and Dickson County, TN Police Departments. What makes this even more interesting is that even after state and federal experts got involved in trying to get the Tewksbury Police Department's files back, and in the case of Dickson County, the FBI, they still had no way to retrieve their data other than pay the ransom, which they did.

The only police department that didn't pay and still got its files back was in Durham, NH. Since they had backed up their data, they did not have to capitulate to the digital bandits. (Another police department refused to pay and ended up losing their files.)

Backing up your data is a must, as even police and sheriff departments are vulnerable. To make sure you never lose your files due to forgetfulness or procrastination, it is advised to use a data backup service.

For information about how data backup services can help your organization, simply contact TelWare at 1-800-637-3148 or sales@telware.com. TelWare is a national leader in the installation of voice, video, data and unified communication solutions. TelWare is an Authorized Avaya and Star2Star Dealer.

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