Technology is constantly evolving and with that so are the threats that put your network and organization at risk. As a business owner, you can't afford to lose any data or suffer from downtime due to a virus or malicious attack.
Prevention is key, but there are also steps that you can take to ensure you don't suffer from data loss because of malicious software or malware. The first step in preventing a ransomware attack is understanding what you are dealing with.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware that works by taking your computer system hostage and threatens to keep you locked out of your own files until a sum of money is paid.
If this happens to you, a screen that looks something like this will appear:
Probably one of the most frustrating and damaging money-making schemes to affect your business or organization, ransomware will lock you out of your own files and your operations will slow to a halt. Operational setbacks, serious financial implications and the loss of important data are just some of the problems associated with ransomware.
Like any other malware or virus, ransomware presents itself in a way that tricks users into downloading it onto their computers. Once ransomware gets into your system, it begins to identify valuable files and lock them away in an unbreakable encrypted format so that you no longer have access. It doesn't take long for the virus to make itself known and ask for a large sum of money for the encryption key to regain access to your files.
There are even new forms of ransomware that track your physical location and then poses itself as your local police force, convincing you that you must pay a fine to get your files back.
In most cases, those who have paid the ransom have regained access to their files, but at this point the attackers probably have your credit card information or other valuable data stored, putting you at even more risk.
Recovering your data can be quite difficult due to the tough encryptions they use to lock away your files. The most important thing you can do is prevent malware from entering your system and network in the first place.
How to prevent Ransomware
Install and update anti-virus and anti-malware software. These are key in ensuring that malicious software doesn't make its way onto your system. We recommend using http://www.eset.com/us/ ESET for both PC and for MAC.
Run firewall software. Boost the effectiveness of your anti-virus defense by finding a firewall that provides your network with unified threat management by filtering the data that goes in and out of your system. Just remember that running more than one firewall can cause interference and leave your system unprotected.
Keep your browser updated. Ensuring that your browser stays current, pop-up blockers, download screening and all, will provide you with added protection. You can also modify the security settings to maximize the your browser's ability to prevent attacks.
Don't open every email attachment. Even if the email is from someone you know, don't just blindly open email attachments without first scanning the attachment with your anti-virus software or confirming with the sender that they intended to send it to you.
Be wary of suspicious pop-ups and websites. Anytime you are unsure of whether or not a website or pop-up is safe, avoid and then research. If you determine that it is safe, you can go back and if not, you just saved yourself a huge headache. For annoying pop-ups, don't click on them at all, even to close the screen.
How to remove Ransomware
Even if you follow these preventative steps, you could still face infection or attack. If this does happen to you, immediately disconnect from your network, shut down your computer and call your IT provider.
There are ransomware and malware removal tools out there, but to get your business operations back on track as quickly and efficiently as possible, it is usually best to call in an expert.
Even once the ransomware is removed, it is sometimes difficult to recover all of the encrypted data. This is why your organization needs a Business Continuity Plan! Performing regular, external backups becomes really important to ensuring that your business is not seriously affected by an attack.
Is your business or organization suffering from a problem with a ransomware or another virus? We can help return your network to its original state and get your daily operations back on track.
Just want to know more about how to prevent malware? We can help with that too. Get In Touch Simply drop us a line below or call us today. 780.628.7504.