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Ransomware costs businesses more than $75 billion per year. It has become an effective extortion scheme used to exploit its victims. Ransomware targets weaknesses on your computer enabling the hacker to encrypt your data. The attacker will then demand a ransom to restore your files. Due to the alarming growth of ransomware attacks, it is crucial to stay protected.
Ransomware relies on deceiving and manipulating users to open links and download the malware. People are often tempted by shocking videos or the promise of free software by following an ad on a random website. Employees can be educated against these types of traps and can avoid accidentally installing ransomware onto their computers.
Paying the ransom might seem like the only way to retrieve your precious data. If you give in to the hacker's demands, there is no guarantee or law in place to ensure that your files will be decrypted. You are trusting the word of a criminal who has seized control of your personal property. Hence, paying the ransom will only encourage more cyber-attacks, making it a threat to more people. This is why preventative measures are vital to stop ransomware attacks from happening.
The most important thing to do to make sure ransomware (or any type of malware) doesn’t affect you - is to back up your files. Even anti-malware software isn't foolproof against ransomware. 75% of businesses that fell victim to ransomware attacks were running up-to-date endpoint protection. If you back up your data, it is much easier to recover from an attack.
Patching and updating software for all your systems can also significantly reduce the possibility of ransomware attacks, with computers running outdated software being more prone to an attack.
Spam email campaigns are the most prevalent method hackers use for ransomware attacks. It is important to be cautious when opening emails. These messages contain attachments and links that will download ransomware onto your computer. It is crucial to scan all incoming mail for known threats and block anything suspicious. Remember to think twice before opening links and attachments so you can keep your data safe.
If you have fallen victim to an attack, you will need to find out the type of ransomware infecting your computer. There are two main types, Crypto and Locker. Crypto encrypts your data and files while Locker prevents you from using your computer by locking you out. Also, remember what looks like ransomware may be "scareware" which is designed to look like your computer is under attack and “scare” you into paying or installing malicious software.
To destroy the ransomware, you will need to reboot your machine in safe mode (Windows 10), install antimalware software, then find and destroy the ransomware. This technique will put you back into control of your machine, but it can't decrypt your files. This is why frequent backups that are securely stored are so critical. Restoring from a backup is the fastest way to regain access to your data.
Significant advances have been made in combating ransomware since its inception. Through the use of antimalware software, regular backups and user awareness training will best prepare you for an attack. Talk to our cyber security experts today to make sure you have your plan in place.
This is the final blog in our series on the ASD Es...