Ransomware attacks have increased exponentially, causing loss to businesses worth billions of dollars each year. Though there are ways to recover from a ransomware attack, “Prevention is better than cure” is the best way to minimize financial loss and damage to your company image. ‘Dealing with ransomware’ can fill a whole book and can seem complicated. So, we have put together a list on the basics for dealing with ransomware and how best to protect your business and personal information.
What is Ransomware
Ransomware is malicious software that can work in one of two ways; it can encrypt and block your system files; or lock you out of your operating system making your desktop, apps and files inaccessible. Money is demanded usually in Bitcoins to decrypt or unlock your system. There is no way to guarantee that your data will be unlocked even if you pay the ransom. Our advice is never to pay the ransom demand – seek professional advice first.
How to Protect Yourself Against Ransomware Attacks
Malware usually infects a system through spam/phishing emails, backdoors or software vulnerabilities. An accidental click on malware click by an unsuspecting employee can infect the whole network. So, it’s important to identify system vulnerabilities, potential risk areas, and the training needs of employees to prevent an attack. Regular Security Audits and Penetration testing should be done to ensure that your business is amply protected against malware attacks. You also need to identify and put in place an effective Risk Management Strategy for your organization.
Perform regular backups for your system and ensure that the data is stored, preferably, in multiple locations. The best way is to have a cloud backup solution as well as a local server backup. The cloud gives you the advantage of redundancy and additional protection.
Disaster Recovery Plan
It’s also essential to have a disaster recovery plan in place for your organization. A good IT company can assist you to put one of these in place and ensure it is tested at regular intervals.
A lack of knowledge in identifying potential threats or inattentiveness is one of the major reasons why an attack gets through to your network. Stress the importance of being up-to-date on security issues. Security training for all staff should be conducted at regular intervals to ensure that they are aware of the latest threats and how to recognize and deal with them.
Install adequate anti-ransomware / security software and update it regularly.
Use firewalls to block unauthorized access to your computer.
Get a spam filtering software in place to prevent malware from phishing emails.
Ensure that you download and install software and OS updates or patches regularly to repair vulnerabilities and improve security.
Ensure strong password security is followed across your organization, and passwords for personal and official use is kept entirely different.
Update your ransomware and security software regularly. Schedule and run frequent security scans to detect any malware that may have escaped detection at the first level scan. You can then take further steps to quarantine and delete the ransomware.
In the unfortunate event that your system is attacked, the first step is to disconnect the machine from the network to prevent it from infecting other systems, before you start the recovery process. Then call a professional IT company.
It is essential that you do not pay any ransom demand associated with the event. People who commit these crimes are unscrupulous and you should not assume that they will comply just because you have paid. In the majority of cases, they will simply disappear after a ransom is paid.
You will need to do a backup download, system restore or reinstallation if you are locked out. It would be a good idea to have a professional cyber-security service provider assist you to minimize damage and speed up the recovery process.
Ransomware attacks are merciless and affect not only businesses but also personal users. These attacks continuously evolve and keep updating features to escape detection software.
Keeping yourself one step ahead of security threats can take up a lot of your time and focus, away from your core business. Let us help you.
Computing Australia has vast experience in cybersecurity; we provide you comprehensive cybersecurity services including Security Audits, Penetration Testing, Staff Training, Firewall and Security Software supply and installation, and Recovery assistance if you have been hit with a ransomware attack. Contact us to speak to a security analyst.