Viruses! Like it or not, they are everywhere. Over the years they have become increasingly simple to contract and very difficult to eradicate. More recent malware has been able to install itself within the target computer without requiring the user to run anything, even without double clicking! These viruses can run and attach themselves to a host as simply as just by previewing an infected email.

I recently found myself face-to-face with the “CutWail” Botnet virus on a network of 50 or so computers, across four different geographic locations, all tunneling back to the main building. Email had quit sending and was queuing in the Exchange Server. Upon investigation I found that the domain name had been listed with the Composite Blocking List. The CBL website went on to explain that we had been sending out massive amounts of spam and had contracted a virus.

After researching what virus they were up against, and downloading a few anti-virus and network monitoring applications, I got to work locating this elusive foe. After about 15 hours of monitoring network traffic, blocking all machines from sending outbound SMTP traffic, digging through firewall logs and running multiple anti-virus I applications, I was able to locate and eradicate the virus (which had embedded itself in 8 machines across the four locations) and remove the IP Address from the blacklist.

After the dust settled, the company had spent a substantial amount of money in downtime and labor costs to get their network back in order. Unfortunately in this case, the anti-virus solution that was in place was not enough to prevent the infection.

So how can companies be proactive vs. reactive when it comes to malware and viruses? The most effective solution is to talk to one of our sales representatives about developing a tailored made generational backup plan for your data. In the event of a virus or malware, clean generations of your data can be spun up and deployed within minutes of an infection and skip the nightmare of attempting to locate a “Shape Shifting” virus.

If this situation occurs in a network without generational backups, or on a physical network as in the company mentioned above, it creates a mess, the only real way to move forward is to perform damage control and run a few applications to be proactive in the future as well as reactive immediately. Download and run a well updated anti-virus solution such as “Microsoft Security Essentials”, “Norton Power Eraser” or “Kaspersky” these companies have large support teams that can be called when you find yourself waist-deep on an idle Sunday at 3 in the morning, frantically trying to bring your network back to life before the 9-to-5ers get in. Download the free or pro-version of “Malwarebytes”, which is an extremely handy Anti-Malware software that is helpful at locating even some of the most complex viruses. Allow the software to update its database often and perform a full scan regularly to prevent an infection, or to minimize the damage if your network becomes compromised. Lastly…don’t forget to breathe, call us at OffsiteDataSync (585-256-2054), and remember that calmer heads will prevail.