One of the most frightening and infuriating types of malware out there is known as ransomware. What ransomware does is lock or encrypt the data on a device in order to make it inaccessible and then, as per the name, holds the data for ransom. Being threatened to pay someone in order to access your own data is absurd. This is an unfortunate reality some come to face though. If you end up being one of the unlucky ones who find themselves in that situation, there are a couple of things you can do.
Reports indicate that the ransomware strain has spread to 150 countries, impacting 10,000 organizations, 200,000 individuals 7 and 400,000 machines. Source: Barkly, “WannaCry Ransomware Statistics: The Numbers Behind the Outbreak,” May 2017.
The Possible Attack
You are often limited in terms of your possible responses to a ransomware attack by what actions you took before the attack happened, however one thing everyone can and should do is do not pay the ransom. One of the best ways to discourage hackers from using ransomware is to decrease the returns they get from it. In addition, just because you paid the ransom does not mean you will get access to your data back, it is possible (and likely) that the hacker will take one payment as an opportunity to charge you more with no plan to stop.
There are antivirus tools that can remove ransomware from your device however they cannot decode your data, which means that unless you have backups of your data from before it got encrypted on an external device its essentially lost. We at Lighthouse IT use our partners at Sophos. You can learn more about how they tackle this issue here.
How do you avoid having to deal with that?
The best way to fight against ransomware, and all malware for that matter, is to keep yourself protected in the first place. The best methods we use are: patching often, use anti-virus and network monitoring tools, backup often and practice DR, use endpoint backups, secure file syncs and sharing, and finally education and keeping staff aware of common tricks. Keeping yourself up to date and in front of the any concerns is always the better option. Lighthouse IT Solutions can help you increase your network security to protect you from ransomware. If you want to see just how we go about keeping our clients safe, find more info here: