What is Ransomware and how can I stop it?

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Data is becoming more valuable for daily business and personal needs. This trend is being aggressively leveraged as an exchange currency by cyber criminals who understands the consequences and reputational damages of data loss and the emotional reactions by those who would do anything to get lost information back.

This realisation of this need for data led to the birth of Ransomware, which infect systems and encrypt all the. This is then followed by a ransom requested in return for the data to be decrypted.

 

How Ransomware attacks work

For ransomware to be effective, cyber criminals depend on human error to manifest and then exploit this to their advantage.

Human errors may exist in the form of weak passwords, clicking on malicious links or even opening phishing emails which mimic trusted service providers. There are other means for ransomware to infect a system.

There are also more advanced ransomware which exploit security flaws in system and communication protocols to achieve the desired cyber attack / compromise without to the need for user manipulation. These types of attacks are less prevalent, but do exist.

 

So how can I protect myself / my business from Ransomware attacks?

With any cybersecurity detection and prevention mechanism, vigilance is key. Since ransomware main target is to get access to your data and encrypting the drive, folders, files and whatever else is useful for you, maintaining a strong level of mindfulness is crucial to averting a possible attack.

 

What does mindfulness mean in reality?

  • Being conscious that emails from seemingly legitimate sources could be compromised or contain malicious code which could infect your computer or IT environment.
  • Understand that not every email message is from a real person or trusted source.
  • Encouraging employees to be wary of accepting instructions or calls from persons pretending to be from a known entity.
  • Perform regular / timely backup and scans your system and operational data.
  • keep your security protocols and operating system up-to-date through regular patches and security checks to boost resilience and react appropriately to threats.

With the above said, being human mean mistakes are inevitable and it's not all the time that we will have our wits about us to avert circumstantial attacks whether they be from ransomware or otherwise.

Therefore, having a contingency plan in place could serve as an effective disaster recovery and business continuity solution to help mitigate against cyber threats.

 

Could backing up your data provide a reliable solution?

Having a data recovery strategy and solution in place does not automatically resolve the problems caused by ransomware infection but it does present the opportunity to restore any inaccessible data lost to ransomware relatively quickly.

Keeping this backup off your network is vital as, it could become your main point of call should your system become infected or encrypted. adopting this level of practice also ensure that your backup drive is unaffected by cyber-attacks and system compromise.

For business that operate online or have multiple staff access to data, having a backup alone will not provide a comprehensive disaster recovery solution for the protection of your data.

 

Why is Doxware a more serious threat for companies?

Unlike traditional ransomware operation, Doxware goes beyond encrypting files in exchange for payment. It takes cyber-attack to the next level by accessing potentially sensitive or confidential information including email conversations, patents, financial documentation.

The attacker would then threaten to make this information public unless the requested ransom is paid. The reputational impact of this attack to any organisation is seriously damaging for several reasons. Having data backup will have no effect on the exposure of the company if files and confidential information are released online.

The level of fine for data breach to the organisation could have catastrophic consequences due to GDPR.

Since technology is forever changing and new solutions are coming online every day, there's no fool proof strategy to be totally secure.

This means no system is totally immune to sophisticated Ransomware threat and cyber-attacks. Having robust security measures and procedures in place is definitely a step in the right direction towards, but the truth remains that Doxware is definitely a real and tangible threat.

 

Conclusion

Although ransomware can impact computer severely, having regular data backups can help to keep your data secure. Viruses and cyber-attacks will continue to increase as more services and companies operate online. Having an IT Support company like Solid Rock IT UK can help you to proactively address technology challenges and IT solution requirements that are unique to our business.

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