In light of increasing ransomware attacks, we want to share some information about what ransomware is and how to prevent it from crippling your business.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a virus that infects a computer and keeps a user from accessing their own information until they pay a ransom. Hence the name. A ransomware virus can come in the form of an email, download, link, or pdf. It can quickly spread from one computer to your whole network.
There are multiple types of ransomware, varying in severity. They include scareware, screen lockers, and encrypting ransomware. For more details on different ransomware types, here is some useful information from MalwarebitesLabs.
How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks
These are some important tips that can help prevent many computer viruses, including ransomware attacks.
Install and Update Antivirus Software
Remember that even though you have antivirus software, you need to keep it updated. You should also check your antivirus software settings. Sometimes features like behavioral analysis are not turned on. Behavioral-detection antivirus software is one of the best ways to protect your computer from ransomware attacks.
Mimecast is one of our recommended email security systems. It helps prevent whaling, phishing and spear-phishing attacks. Their website has some great information about preventing virus attacks.
Inform Your Staff
Know how the ransomware virus spreads.
- Don’t open email attachments if you don’t know what they are (especially “You’re a Winner!” emails).
- Don’t click on unfamiliar links.
- Don’t open attachments in shipping notifications if you didn’t place an order.
- Close popup windows that ask for information from you. Popups to avoid include those telling you that you need to install applications or update account information.
- Bookmark frequently-visited websites to avoid going to a malicious site due to a typo.
Know what to do if they suspect there’s an infection
If someone realizes they clicked on something they shouldn’t have, it’s important to know what steps to take to prevent a virus from spreading.
- Unplug the computer from the network and call your tech support team.
- Don’t ignore alerts from your antivirus software. Pass the information on to your tech support team as soon as possible.
Back Up Data
In a surprising number of ransomware reports, the victim organization did not have a working backup of their data.
- Store backup data offsite, not on your network.
- Authentication—keep unauthorized people out of your network
- Don’t store the backup data on a USB hard drive connected to the server. It will often be encrypted with other data on the same network.
Ransomware is a large and growing problem because it is effective and profitable. Your business can prevent or minimize attacks by making sure you have an uninfected backup at a secure location, you are doing everything possible to keep the attackers out of your workstations and network, and you have systems in place to recognize intrusion.
Sources & Interesting Reading
celito: Network & IT Consulting
MalwarebitesLabs: How to beat ransomware: Prevent, don’t react
Mimecast: Email Security Solutions