Ransomware, crypto locker and malware are all programs that don’t care what time of the day it is, what day of the week it is or better yet how the weather outside is.

These new super viruses are costing companies and users time and money—some to the tune of $100,000 or more. For the everyday home user, most likely you won’t be a target. The programs and the hackers behind them are looking for business networks, which leads them to multiple computers and servers to attack.

Most users don’t even know they have clicked the wrong link or opened the wrong email because most companies rely on their antivirus to stop threats like this. The problem is most antivirus companies can’t stop these types of programs. Once the user launches the program it runs in the background and encrypts all of the data on that user’s PC. The program then reaches out to any PC on the local network it can see and encrypts that data as well. Typically, there is no announcement from the program that this was done. Most users discover it when they go to open a file such as a word doc, excel file or a specialty program. At that point the file name extension has been changed and encrypted—meaning your data is now not accessible.

Prevention is always key, however, like all viruses, they are constantly changing. The best practice is a simple one. Do not open emails that look suspicious. Don’t go to websites that are sent via email. This means getting out of the email and visiting the site on your own. Also, don’t go to websites or open files that you are not 100 percent sure are real.

Being Proactive with proper backups, antivirus software and password security will get you very far if in fact you have launched ransomware. Check backups daily and make sure your antivirus is also updating daily or hourly. Test your backup solution. You need to know files are actually getting backed up. There are many simple backup solutions on the market that can save companies from going out of business.

The most important thing to remember is, when the time comes to be reactive, you have a punch list in place of what to do. Most ransomware viruses want money to decrypt the files that are on your server and or pc. With a proper backup you can restore your files back very quickly and avoid paying a ransom.

Silicon Desert Insider is a weekly blog published every Wednesday morning on azBIGmedia.com, about the local technology industry. If you have an idea for a piece for “Silicon Desert Insider,” please email AZ BIG Media Digital Editor Jesse A. Millard at jesse.millard@azbigmedia.com.