To understand ransomware and how it works, you need to understand the concept of malware. Malware is any malicious code that is designed to provide access or control of another system. In other words, hackers can use malware to access your company's equipment and information.
Ransomware is a specific type of malware. It gains control of your system and blocks access or threatens to do harm to it. The software is extremely difficult to remove, so it offers to restore your system back to normal in exchange for financial compensation ("Ransom").
How can I protect my business from Ransomware?
- Filter emails. One of the most popular ways to send ransomware is by attaching .exe files to otherwise normal looking emails. Somebody could easily impersonate a client, attach a file, and compromise your organization in minutes. Use software to filter these threats and block .exe attachments from ever being downloaded and installed.
- Keep your network updated. Malware tends to attack outdated versions of software, as they're the easiest to exploit. If you keep your various server and system software updated and patched, it's much easier to stay protected.
- Use a multi-layered defense strategy. Make sure your business is protected by a powerful anti-malware software, a firewall and invest in a web content filter. This gives you three layers of defense on both the network and your equipment.
- Generate backups regularly. One of the worst things ransomware can do is destroy all your data and demand money to restore it. If you're keeping timely backups of all your information, you eliminate this threat completely.
What happens if I get infected?
Even if you take proper precautions, a single mistake can force you to deal with ransomware. The most important thing to remember is to never pay the ransom. You're only showing the hackers that you're willing to pay, making your company a good target to attack again in the future. Beyond that, there’s no way of knowing whether or not they're really out of your hair. They could simply grant you access and continue to stay on your system, gathering information and waiting to strike again.
At that point, your best bet is to remove any affected systems from your network immediately. If you can restore to a recent backup, you'll be able to regain access quickly. When that isn't an option, you'll need to start over from scratch.
If you would like to discuss what security options are available to you and your business give us a call on 01978 869182.