What Is Ransomware and How Do You Fight It?
Connecting to the internet makes your systems vulnerable to many cybersecurity threats. But ransomware is a double threat. Not only does it damage your systems, but it’s also profitable to hackers.
Ransomware is malware that will encrypt all of your data then demand payment to decrypt it. Because this payment is usually in an untraceable cryptocurrency, it is almost a perfect crime. And because of that, ransomware will continue to threaten businesses in the future.
The most common way ransomware is delivered to a computer is through phishing emails. Hackers send an email to unsuspecting victims with the ransomware attached. This email will masquerade as a legitimate email the user is expecting. Through fear and other forms of social engineering, the email will instruct the victim to download and run the attachment.
Sometimes hackers inject ransomware into systems through security holes without the need to trick anyone. Either way, once this malicious software is delivered and activated, your systems and data are in trouble.
Because of the many ways ransomware can be delivered, there are quite a few preventative practices to implement. Most of these methods are good general security practices.
- Educate employees about ransomware and tell them never to download any attachment they are not expecting.
- Install antivirus software to detect the ransomware and remove it before it has any chance to infect your systems.
- Keep all of your systems patched and up to date to prevent ransomware from slipping through security holes.
- Frequently back up all of your data so ransomware can’t hold your data hostage.
Because of the advanced encryption that most ransomware uses, there are only two ways to remove ransomware.
If you have been keeping frequent backups, you can reboot your system into safe mode, install anti-malware software to remove the ransomware, and restore the system to the most recent backup.
But if there isn’t a recent backup, important data could be encrypted and out of reach. And the only way you can get it back is by paying the ransom. Many companies opt for this when the loss of data will cost them more than the ransom.
If your business connects to the internet, it is a target of ransomware. For more help getting your business up and running after a ransomware attack, check out Canary Trap’s incident response service.