Updated: Mar 31
March 31st is now recognised as World Backup Day. Emphasis is placed on how to be prepared against data loss and data theft. To understand why there is an emphasis placed on this day, we need to look at what backing up your data means, and why it is important.
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What is a backup?
In the most basic terms, a backup is a copy of files, and in this example, your company’s important files. For individuals, important files could include documentation, family recipes or photos, or anything they deem to be important and have made digital copies of. A backup is typically stored in the cloud, in a secure location such as Google Cloud, OneDrive, Box.com, or Dropbox to name a few.
Why should I backup my data?
Companies have been faced with more and more ransomware attacks in recent years with the current situation being that these are taking place daily, globally. A few notable cyber attacks in recent years include:
Not Petya (2017): Arguably the most costly cyber-attack in history, orchestrated by the Sandworm hacker group is linked to GRU. The attack initially targeted software widely used in Ukraine, but the virus spread worldwide destroying the computer systems of thousands of companies causing over $10bn in damage.
Colonial Pipeline (2021): A state of emergency was declared in several US States after hackers caused a vital pipeline to shut down, leading to a run on the pumps and huge fuel shortages. The attack was carried out by the Darkside Ransomware Group is thought to be based in Russia. Colonial Pipeline admitted to paying $4.4m in ransom to get the pipeline back up and running.
How can individuals protect themselves?
Though it's unlikely cyberattackers would target us individually, we know that any cyber attack can have repercussions on individuals. With technology delivering so many of our basic needs, those repercussions can be wide-ranging, from fuel supply shortages at your local petrol station to widespread power outages.
Many cyber criminal group attacks are completely indiscriminate in their strategy and throw a huge net out when launching campaigns to find potential scam victims. Consumers need to be aware that cyber actors can target them through phishing emails and SMS campaigns and almost any website or mobile application. Regardless of what country you’re in, the industry you work for, the chances of being impacted by a cyber attack are as high as ever. Individuals need to protect themselves by becoming more cyber streetwise, or ‘cyber-savvy’.
The following are top recommendations to get started:
1. Backing up using cloud storage
Use cloud storage to securely back up your data in encrypted, online storage. Using cloud storage ensures that your data and backups are up-to-date and secured by using multi-factor authentication.
2. Backing up using removable media
As a secondary precaution, store your backups on removable media. Remember to always password-protect your backups with a strong password that is not currently being used on any other website or application.
3. Restoring backups
Always double-check to ensure that your backups contain all your important data. Anything of value to you that would be devastating if lost should be backed up. Stored backups, whether in cloud storage or removable media, should always be easily accessible by authorised users.
4. Recovering files deleted in error
Recovering files is always easier, and quicker than restoring an entire backup. If you accidentally deleted files, you can find your deleted files in your computer's 'recycle bin' and 'file history'. These deleted files can be restored to a previous version of the file, or the entire file can be recovered.
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