Protecting Your Business Against Ransomware

Ransomware. The term itself has an eerie ring to it. It is one of the newer threats, a serious one, plaguing businesses and individuals alike.

Gone are the days when malicious files would simply cause headaches and inconveniences such as duplicating folders and spamming you with ads; they could be removed with a couple of simple scans using an antivirus. However, ransomware is a much greater threat to anyone who has digital information worth safeguarding.

What is ransomware?

Before we begin solving a problem, understanding it is paramount. Ransomware is defined as software that run with the intent of locking you out of your files, or at least claiming that your files have been infected, while requesting payment or ransom to unlock them. It is the digital equivalent of kidnapping, instead of people, your data is held hostage.

There are several grades of ransomware spread out on the internet:

  • Low-Grade – Also termed as ‘scareware’, they are aimed at simply scaring the user into believing that their files are infected and will continually spam links pointing to fake antivirus tools that promise to remove them for a fee. This type of ransomware is usually simple to remove on your own with the assistance of a quality antivirus.
  • Mid-Grade – These types of ransomware are relatively more problematic; they lock your screen and/or browser and show official-looking pages that claim to belong to the Government, ‘notifying’ you of illegal activity detected on your computer. Moreover, they generally provide a link to pay a ‘fine’ to unlock your PC or browser. It is not easy to remove as they tend to lock you out of your PC and you should consider getting the assistance of services providing IT support in Brisbane.
  • High-Grade – One of the most dangerous types of malware out on the internet, it actually locks you out of your files by encrypting them. In addition to this, they demand payment within a set deadline, failing which, they threaten to destroy your files. Businesses with sensitive information on their PCs should be aware of these threats and should take steps to safeguard themselves. One of the ways to make sure you stay protected is getting professional safety consultations from Brisbane IT Guru.

How to safeguard against ransomware?

Although there is no sure-fire way of protecting yourself from ransomware, there are methods you can use to give yourself a fighting chance against them.

  • Install ALL security updates and patches – A majority of people tend to ignore the pending update notifications, and this is one of the main reasons that ransomware is so successful. Security patches, especially ones that patch your browsers and operating systems, are aimed at shutting down security loopholes that these software exploit. Hence, maintaining a fully-updated system will stop a good portion of attacks being successful.
  • Employee Training and Education – A lack of awareness about this problem and how it permeates to your systems is what creates an environment conducive to exploitation by malware such as ransomware.
  • Intermittent Cloud Backup – The cloud. This is probably the most crucial weapon in your arsenal to tackle ransomware. Ensure that all your data is backed up securely in the cloud, protected with several layers of encryption. Consequently, even if someone hijacks your data, you can stay tension-free and simply wipe your system clean and restore all sensitive information from the cloud as needed.

Steps to take if infected with ransomware?

Suppose you take all the necessary steps and still fall prey to a ransomware attack, here’s what you should do next:

  • If your PC is connected to a network with other computers on it, immediately unplug yourself from the internet by pulling out the cord or switching off your Wi-Fi.
  • Perform scans on all your cloud backup data to ensure that your data is safe.
  • If your data is clean, format your machine and install a fresh copy of Windows on it. Now restore all the required data from the cloud.

In case you got infected before you were aware of the safety measures listed above, here’s what you do:

  • Unplug your PC from the network immediately, this step is crucial in any scenario as you do not want the ransomware trying to launch attacks on other systems in your workplace.
  • Check for a system restore point, Windows automatically creates one at regular intervals, and go back to a date where you are confident your system was clean.
  • If the above step doesn’t work, try booting into Safe Mode and run a full antivirus scan.

However, if all the above steps fail, your next best option would be to get help from our services that offer comprehensive data recovery or computer help in Brisbane. The famous saying, prevention is better than the cure, rings true in the case of ransomware too. Hence, make sure that you take all necessary precautions to prevent an attack on your precious data.