How to avoid a Ransomware attack.

How can you avoid a ransomware attack?

Ransomware attacks are now becoming one of the most common cyber security threats around. When it comes to working on the internet and let’s be honest, we all do, cyber security should be a top priority for both your personal and professional data. Over the past couple of years, cybercrime has soared, affecting companies of all shapes and sizes and unfortunately, most companies take at least six months to detect an attack has happened. In fact, ransomware attacks occurred every 11 seconds in 2021!

What is a ransomware attack?

A ransomware attack is commonly known as a trojan horse situation in that your device is encrypted without your knowledge. A ransom is then demanded in exchange for the return of your data.

To put it simply, imagine someone breaking into your home, changing the locks and charging you a ransom to re-enter your home.

ransomware attack

Ransomware is one of the fastest-growing threats in cyber security. Make no mistake ALL businesses are at risk! 50-70% of ransomware attacks focus on small to medium-sized businesses purely because they’re expected to have less security in place.

One of the most common ways a ransomware attack can occur is through phishing emails.

Phishing emails

What are phishing emails?

Phishing emails are defined as disguised emails. The goal of these attacks is to trick you into believing that the message is something that you want or need to read. It could be a request from your bank or a note from someone in the office. But, once you click on this email, the attacker can encrypt all the data within your device.

The analogy essentially matches the word fishing as the attacker is throwing a baited hook through an email and hoping you’ll bite, but… As tempting as it is, DON’T TAKE THE BAIT! Make sure you’re only opening emails and downloading files from people you know are genuine. If you’re not sure, you can preview the email before you open it to double check.

How to prevent a ransomware attack?

  1. Make sure your data is always backed up. If you’ve got an external backup, you should still have access to your data if the worst-case scenario happens.
  2. Always avoid giving out your personal information. If you receive a call, text or email from an untrusted source requesting personal information, it is generally cybercriminals.

3. Keep your operating systems up to date. Regularly updating programmes and operating systems will help protect you from malware attacks. However, when performing these updates, make sure you benefit from the latest security protections making it more difficult for cybercriminals to exploit the vulnerabilities in your programmes.

4. When working remotely, we often connect to public Wi-Fi networks. However, using these networks will make your device more vulnerable to an attack that could affect your whole IT system. So, avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, especially for sensitive situations where your personal information is on display. You can create a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to ensure you are safe online when working remotely.

5. Never download software or files from unknown sites. This sounds obvious but sometimes these unverified sites look so authentic it is easy to be confused. So, to avoid confusion and risk of your data make sure to check that the browser address bar of the page uses “https” instead of “http”. There will also be a shield or lock symbol in the address bar which indicates the website is secure and safe for you to use.

Ransomware attack

What to do if you are hacked by ransomware!

  1. One of the most common assumptions is to pay the ransom. However, this isn’t always a sure thing. Cybercriminals cannot be trusted. Once the ransom is paid, it’s not guaranteed that you will receive your data back. Plus you’ll never know if the attackers made copies of your data for future use.
  2. Disconnect any devices connected to your network. This will help prevent movement from ransomware and keep other devices on your network safe.

3. Document the damage. When reporting the attack, make sure you gather as much information as possible, such as:

  • Where did the attack originate?
  • What dime did the attack originate?
  • How many devices have been infected?
  • How many files have been encrypted?
  • Do you have any backups of the data?
  • Have any payments been made?
  • How much ransom is being demanded?

4. If you do not have a backup of your data, there is no guarantee that you will get it all back. If you haven’t backed up your data, the best thing to do is to partner with law enforcement and or cyber forensic experts to find decryptors that may be able to recover your data.

5. Prevent this from ever happening again! Even those who paid the ransom are unfortunately not in the clear for another attack. So, the best thing to do is to partner with cybersecurity service providers like ourselves to ensure your organisation is well protected in the future and you have a solid plan of action to protect your data from any future attacks

To find out more about how you can prevent a ransomware attack and keep your companies data safe, get in touch today.

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At IT Outcomes we love to hear from our customers, whether you are new to Managed IT Services, are looking to change your existing supplier or need advice just call or email and our approachable team.

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