RansomwareWhat is Ransomware?

You may have heard the word Ransomware, but what exactly is it?

Ransomware is computer malware that installs covertly on a victim’s computer, executes a cryptovirology attack that adversely affects it, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt it or not publish it. Simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, and display a message requesting payment to unlock it. More advanced malware encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. The ransomware may also encrypt the computer’s Master File Table (MFT) or the entire hard drive. Thus, ransomware is a denial-of-access attack that prevents computer users from accessing files since it is intractable to decrypt the files without the decryption key. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan that has a payload disguised as a legitimate file. – Source: Wikipedia

How Can I Protect Myself from Ransomware?

Below are a few ways you can protect yourself from a Ransomware attack:

  1. Use Virus Protection Software – Have a good virus protection program, make sure the definitions are up-to-date and your subscription hasn’t expired (if you have a paid retail version).
  2. Have A Good Backup Routine – It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to have a good backup routine. If you have files on your computer that are irreplaceable they should be backed up, possibly in multiple places.  If you run a business and don’t back up your data you stand to lose thousands of dollars in lost revenue due to a simple attack.
  3. Know Which Messages to Open and Which Not To – If you have to think about who the sender of the message is, you probably want to just delete it. Hackers and virus writers use various tactics to trick you in to opening their virus payloads by making them look like they are from a trusted source.
  4. Use A Firewall Appliance – A firewall can be placed on your network at the gateway and scan all incoming data for malicious content before it ever gets to your desktops or servers.  I can also be configured to scan outgoing traffic in order to prevent malicious applications from “phoning home” to their creators.

What should I do if I am a victim of a Ransomware attack?

If you find that you are the victim of a Ransomware attack, the first thing you should do is turn off your computer and unplug it from the internet. If you continue running your system, you risk the possibility of overwriting uninfected files during the next scheduled backup and may make any possibility of a restore impossible.  Next, you’ll want to call an I.T. professional who can help determine the best action to take to restore your system back to normal.

If you think you have an issue with one of your systems please contact us today so we can help.

What is “Ransomware” and How Can I Protect Myself?
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