Ransomware: Keep Your Employees Safe and Your Business Secure

By | 2017-03-17T06:47:43+00:00 March 17th, 2017|IT Services|

ransom-note-fonts Did you know $209 million was paid to ransomware criminals in Q1 2016?

A ransomware attack is scary when it occurs. There is little that can be done to stop a ransomware attack that is in progress. The easiest way to mitigate the damage that can be done is preventative care. First, it is important to know what Ransomware is and how it’s spread. Also, you need to know how to prevent Ransomware and how to tell if your system has been compromised.

What is Ransomware?

At this point, you may be asking “What is Ransomware?” Ransomware is a computer malware virus that installs covertly on a computer or smartphone. Pretty stealthy huh? Next, the virus executes a crypto viral extortion attack that ultimately holds your data hostage. Or it mounts a crypto virology leak ware attack that may threaten to publish your data until a ransom is paid. Hence the name “Ransomware”. Ransomware attacks have grown exponentially over the years. As a matter of fact, expert sources have collected over 250,000 unique samples of ransomware in the first quarter of 2013 alone.

Suffice it to say if you are a business you need to know how to protect your sensitive data and keep your business running smoothly.

How Ransomware Spreads

Ransomware is generally spread through trickery. This could be in the form of malicious email attachments from unknown sources. Clicking on a malicious link within an email or from a social networking site could potentially contain ransomware. Ransomware can also spread by an infection from installing software packages from unofficial software websites. They are advertised as updates for Adobe Acrobat, Java and Flash Player normally. Ransomware affects computer systems at the local level. Once ransomware infects the computer system the malware finds files like JPG, XLS, PNG and PPT file extensions. After the hacker encrypts the file the malware tells you that your data is being held for a ransom. The virus will then prompt you to make a payment and receive an encryption key to gain access. Studies show that many people have paid the ransom since the files tend to be too important to give up.

Key Takeaway on How to Prevent Ransomware

It is best to be proactive against ransomware since there isn’t much you can do once your files get encrypted.

Install Anti-Virus Software

It is critical to have adequate Anti-Virus software installed and always up to date. Anti-Virus is only as good as long as it is kept up to date since ransomware is always evolving and becoming more complex. Anti-Virus software continuously checks against the database so it is mission critical that it updates daily to check for new virus signatures.

Avoid Sketchy Downloads

Next, it is important to only download software from trusted sites. Also, be wary of sites that tell you software on your computer is outdated. Websites don’t have the ability to detect outdated software unless you give a website permission to read your hard drive. If your software ever needs an update always go to the official website.

Keep Backups of Your Files

At Beacon IT Services we require server backups for all our clients we manage. Hackers know that most individuals or smaller businesses don’t tend to keep backups of their files. Don’t be caught in this category be proactive and keep backups of your files.

Key Takeaway

The key takeaway to preventing a ransomware attack is to be proactive rather than reactive. The number one way to deal with ransomware is to be conscious of websites you are visiting and the types of content you are downloading. Keep your computer’s anti-virus software up to date and always keep backups of your businesses files.

Learn how we can help you stay safe from ransomware attacks today!

About the Author:

Caleb Pruitt
Caleb joined the Beacon team in April 2011 as a Desktop Administrator. He graduated from ECPI in February 2011 with an associate degree in Computer Science and Technology and holds a second associate degree from GTCC in Architectural Technology.