In recent years, ransomware has become one of the most significant cybersecurity threats for individuals and organisations worldwide.
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands payment in exchange for a decryption key.
This form of cyber-attack has caused huge financial damage for some of the world’s largest companies and can be devastating for businesses, especially SMEs.
Here’s our comprehensive guide to ransomware, including what it is, how it works, and what you can do to protect yourself and your business from it…
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts a victim’s files, rendering them unusable until a ransom is paid. The attackers usually demand payment in cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, to maintain anonymity.
The ransomware may also threaten to release sensitive data if the payment is not made. Once the payment is made, the attackers will typically provide a decryption key to unlock the encrypted files.
How Does Ransomware Work?
Firstly, attackers will gain access to your company’s network. Ransomware typically infects a victim’s computer through phishing emails, malicious attachments, or software vulnerabilities.
Employees working remotely are often more susceptible to a ransomware attack as they are often more isolated and more likely to share sensitive data over an unsecure network.
Once the malware is on a victim’s computer, it will be activated and begin to lock them out of their data and systems. It will then start to encrypt files.
A ransom note will be displayed, usually demanding payment within a specified period of time. In some cases, the ransomware will also delete files or threaten to leak sensitive data if the payment is not made in this time.
Should You Pay a Ransom Demand?
Although paying a ransom fee might sound like the best solution to protect your company’s data, police do not condone the payment of ransom demands. In the event that you do pay a ransom fee:
- You are not guaranteed access to the data you have lost
- Your computer may remain infected
- You will be paying criminal groups
- You have a higher chance of being targeted in the future
Types of Ransomware
There are several different types of ransomware, including:
- Crypto Ransomware: This type of ransomware encrypts a victim’s files, making them unusable until a ransom is paid.
- Locker Ransomware: Locker ransomware locks a victim out of their device entirely, making it impossible to use until a ransom is paid.
- Scareware: Scareware is a form of ransomware that displays a fake warning message, claiming that the victim’s computer is infected with a virus and demanding payment to remove it.
- Doxware: Doxware is a type of ransomware that threatens to release sensitive information if the ransom is not paid.
How to Protect Yourself From Ransomware
There are several steps you can take to protect you and your business from ransomware:
1. Keep Your Software Up to Date
Make sure to install the latest software updates for your operating system, antivirus software, and other applications regularly. Software updates are regularly developed to patch and prevent security risks.
2. Install Antivirus Software
Antivirus software will help detect and remove malware before it can infect your computer.
At DVAD, we offer both cloud and server based anti-virus software. Server-based, centralised anti-virus software allows us to protect, update and fully manage your businesses’ connected devices to ensure your anti-virus software is always up to date.
Our anti-virus software works with Windows as well as other platforms and will provide protection for both individual PCs and servers, making it ideal for hybrid workers.
3. Be Cautious With Email Attachments
Don’t open email attachments from unknown or suspicious senders. If you receive an email with an attachment from someone you know, but it looks suspicious, contact them to confirm that it’s legitimate.
4. Backup Your Files & Data
Regularly backup your files to an external hard drive or cloud storage service. This way, if you fall victim to ransomware, you can restore your files without paying the ransom.
5. Use Strong Passwords
Use strong, unique passwords for all your accounts, and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible to prevent unauthorised access to your files.
6. Educate Yourself
Stay informed about the latest cybersecurity threats and learn how to spot phishing emails, suspicious websites, and other types of malware.
Cybersecurity Services From DVAD
Ransomware is a severe cybersecurity threat that can cause significant damage to individuals and businesses. By taking steps to protect yourself, such as keeping your software up to date, using antivirus software, and backing up your files regularly, you can reduce the risk of your business falling victim to ransomware.
At DVAD our expert team can create a secure, robust, and cost-effective IT system for your business using:
- Anti-virus software
- Spam filtering
If you’d like to talk to a member of our team about any of your IT security requirements, please call us directly on 0800 84 999 84, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team will be happy to help!