Ransomware is one of the most important threats computer users today face, though recent reports suggest that lots of individuals do not really know what it is.
Delivered via spam or phishing emails that trick users into clicking on malicious hyperlinks, ransomware renders computer programs, files or devices inaccessible and retains the victim hostage until payment is made, typically in the kind of bitcoins.
Unfortunately, this approach works for cybercriminals, since consumers and businesses are unprepared for their information – whether it is a business’ intellectual property or family photos – to be obtained from them with no expectation of recovery unless they cover,” says Usman Choudhary, chief product officer at ThreatTrack Security.
To help IT pros make sure their businesses do not fall prey to ransomware, the VIPRE antivirus team at ThreatTrack has issued five essential safety tips as follows:
1. Back up your data – External hard drives keep falling in price and growing in capacity, so they offer a simple and inexpensive way to back up your information. Additionally, there are numerous cloud-based ‘set it and forget it’ choices for automatically backing up your data to an offsite server. Backing up is undoubtedly the greatest do-it-yourself strategy you can take to protect yourself from being blackmailed.
2. Begin a schedule – It is better to back up your information but it has to be performed regularly to succeed. ThreatTrack recommends backing up your data at least once per week and, ideally, once a day.
3. Be aware of phishing emails – Employees will need to be conscious of the most recent social engineering tactics being used to lure people into clicking malicious attachments and links. There are several resources available that may help, such as online tutorials and security awareness training solutions. Simply sending out regular communications about the various approaches and terms used – malware, spam, spear-phishing, etc – can help workers become more cautious about identifying phishing attempts.
4. Update your applications – Ransomware writers often attempt to exploit vulnerabilities in popular software programs. If you are diligent about keeping software current, you are going to minimize your exposure to possible attacks. Even better, ensure that any applications which may be set to update themselves automatically have that feature turned on.
5. Keep work and personal data independent – A recent poll showed that almost a third of IT security employees were requested to remove malware from an executive computer/device since they’d let a relative use it. With so many people working from home it can be tough to separate work from personal life, but keeping both of these worlds apart can go a long way toward protecting information and minimizing the effect of an attack.
If you are struck by ransomware, ThreatTrack urges you to cut off any links, shutting down your computer and disconnecting it from the network. While the damage to this system is already done, you can help stop the spread of malware to other programs or devices.
As you can probably imagine, ransomware could have quite serious consequences for businesses. If you hold sensitive internal and customer information in your own systems, and it isn’t securely backed up, you’ll be in danger of losing it if your systems are infected with ransomware. If your information is backed up, you’ll have the ability to recoup your important files, but this goes far from solving the problem. You will still have undergone a potentially very serious information breach, which may have lots of catastrophic effects of its own. It may cost companies a substantial amount of money to take care of a data breach, which could also damage your reputation and cause loss of business and possibly even legal cases being brought against your organization.
Since ransomware leaves files unusable, the first thing you should do is to make certain that all your information is securely backed up. We would suggest a remote backup service since it is arguably the safest and most effective way of backing up your critical data. This should, however, be viewed as an added precaution, instead of a comprehensive solution to the threat of ransomware. Prevention is always better than cure, so be certain that you’ve got business-grade antivirus and antivirus software solutions installed, and that these are always kept up-to-date. Anti-spam software will help detect any suspicious emails and prevent them from entering your inboxes. Antivirus applications will detect malware threats and stop them until they have the ability to do any harm to your systems. It’s far better to be safe than sorry.
03 February 2020
15 January 2020
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