Don’t Let Ransomware Take Control! Act Now!

Ransomware scams seem to be rising by the day. This quick money scheme has become the ideal tool for cybercriminals to extort money from unsuspecting individuals and businesses the world over.

Research shows that these criminals are using scripts and macros, phishing pages and the computers master boot record (MBR) to load the malware on your systems.

Due to these, the infections have gone through the roof, with both small and big businesses falling victim to these attacks.

What is Ransomware?

This is a malware program that takes your data hostage, requiring you to pay a certain amount of money in Bitcoin to gain control of the data. This malware spreads to individual computers, networks and even to removable drives.

The malware encrypts your sensitive data so that you cannot access it at all. You have only two options – to pay up or risk losing the data.

So What Are You Supposed to Do?

To avoid the risk of losing your data, or even getting affected by the malware, you need to take some actionable steps as documented below:

Apply Necessary Updates

The malware is made to target various vulnerabilities in systems, which means if you use the latest software offered by vendors, the risk is reduced. Recent attacks have been attributed to the use of two common software – Microsoft Silverlight and Adobe Flash Player. You need to patch the recent flaws in this software to reduce the risk. This is not the only software that is being exploited by the criminals; make sure you apply updates and patches for your operating systems and major programs.

You can automate patch installation of your software and systems so that you don’t forget any patch. Reports show that patching your system as required can eliminate more than 80 percent of the attacks.

Back Up Yoru Data More Regularly

If you have been backing up your data on a quarterly basis, it is time you did it more regularly, say, every month. Traditionally, you backed up the data to prevent loss due to an unexpected issue, but now that ransomware is here with us, and it can happen anytime, make sure you perform incremental backups of the data each month.

Studies reveal that those victims that ended up paying the requested ransom, half of them didn’t get their data back as expected. So, if you have a backup, you can easily wipe the hard drive (which removes the malware), install your operating system and then restore the data.

Install Antimalware and Firewall Systems

To prevent the malware from moving from one node t the next, you need to keep your antimalware systems up to date and active. Many workers tend to disable the antimalware programs to bypass the protection so that they can install some programs that are deemed suspicious by the anti-malware system. To avoid this, make sure that you handle every action on the software on the server side. Give the workers only user permissions and not administrative.

The firewall helps protect your network against suspicious incoming connections from all over. Make sure you use a good firewall program to prevent any incoming connections that you deem not appropriate. You also need to scan all your incoming mail and attachments before you allow them to be opened on any workstation. Remember that most of these attachments are infected; take care not to allow them to hijack the system. Work with to understand what firewall programs are available, and which one can work for your needs.

Final Words

Ransomware is a threat to data integrity and the performance of your system. Any It department needs to be wary of this threat and should put measures in place to handle the threat the right way.