What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a version of cyber-attack that involves hackers carrying a computer or other device and insisting payment. The attackers use malicious software (Malware) by downloading it onto a victim’s device and using it to encrypt their data. Many ransomware attacks are targeted toward businesses and big businesses, but it can also affect people.
There are a number of ways to protect yourself from ransomware, and most attacks could have been averted had the victim exercised caution in their everyday use of their apparatus. Security experts have introduced tips to help users protect themselves from those cyber-attacks, especially following a rise in domestic and international instances:
1. Be wary of emails, pop-ups and anti virus apps
According to TrendMicro, Ransomware is often spread through emails containing suspicious links. Once clicked, the hackers could access the user’s pc and subsequently their files, which they may block and freeze. That is where they endanger the victim with the loss of the files, should they deny payment.
However, there are ways that you can spot a dodgy email. Look closely at the email address to see if it’s valid. Within the body of the email itself, look for obvious errors and grammatical mistakes. What’s more, you could try hovering over links (without clicking them) to determine if they direct you to dubious web pages.
Remember that banks and credit card companies will never ask for private information including your password or credit card details.
‘Malvertising’ is a new method which includes the embedding of malware in adverts on sites you are familiar with and trust. They are often pop-ups and occasionally promote applications to remove malware. Never click on those adverts, but shut the windows immediately. To stop malvertising appearing on your trusted websites, you could use ad blockers, or rather, repair known browser security holes.
Lastly, not download an app which has not been certified by an official store, and always read testimonials before installing anything to prevent enabling attackers access to your personal computer or mobile device.
2. Back up all of your documents
If you make sure to back up all your data daily, you’ll be resistant to attacker’s threats if your computers or servers have been obstructed. However, you have to ensure you utilize an external drive that is offline so that the ransomware can’t reach them. By backing all your data onto external drives that are not directly linked to a desktop system, however, would let you erase all information from the attacked machine and restore it with the backup, should you fall prey.
3. Always install valid updates
Upgrades are often released to fix bugs which may make your device more vulnerable to ransomware along with other strikes. Thus, download the newest version of your applications whenever it becomes available. To ensure you know when updates are available, turn on notifications or configure your devices to automatically install the newest updates.
4. Install an antivirus app
Antivirus software can detect malware and prevent it from penetrating your computer before it becomes visible or a threat for you. However, be certain to only download these software from reputable companies such as Bitdefender, Kaspersky Lab, and Norton.
5. Never cover the ransom
Paying the ransom will unfortunately only encourage attackers farther, and there’s absolutely no guarantee your files will be recovered. Should you back up your information regularly, however, you are able to restore your documents from that.
What do I do if I am already infected?
If you are a part of a business ensure that you disconnect from the corporate network and the internet to avoid malware spreading to other apparatus. Also disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth since these can also be an entrance for ransomware. Report the offense and seek help from a specialist who majors in data retrieval, which means you can talk about your alternatives. In extreme cases, your only option is to pay the ransom, however DO NOT do this unless you’ve spoken to a professional first.
For businesses, Ransomware is an absolute nightmare and can run riot through a network. For that reason, we’d always suggest ensuring that you have adequate security patches installed as well as robust antivirus and firewall solutions in place.