There’s nothing more annoying than not being able to utilize the resources on your computer when you need them the most. One cause of such a problem is ransomware—a malicious attack on your gadgets operating system by third-party software. Ransomware, as the name suggests, holds your files at ransom so you cannot access them, well for hackers, unless you pay them.
In 2017, for example, the WannaCry ransomware attack encrypted hospital records and denied doctors access to patient’s records. The motive behind the attack was that the hackers wanted to make easy cash from helpless victims. Most ransomware is weaponized by cyber thieves. These individuals understand that more computer users are not tech-savvy and will pay anything to get their system back. How then do you stay ahead of such intrusions? Here’s a quick guide.
1. Make Use of Intrusion Detection Systems
To begin with, you have to understand how ransomware works and spreads. Mostly, this malicious software originates online. The hackers make use of phishing emails and attachment spam that purport to offer you attractive deals via certain links. When you click on the links; however, it’s just the malware that installs in your system and locks it up.
As part of threat management, therefore, ransomware protection software has been developed. This helps to detect intrusions and stop the ransomware on its tracks. Most ransomware install on network devices, therefore make use these key points:
- Make use of a firewall. This helps to block unauthorized attempts to get into your computer via the network.
- Gate gateway antivirus that helps prevent downloading of malicious apps
- Use spam filtering in your emails to keep off phishing emails
2. Scan Your System Frequently
Real-time threat detection may miss some threats and therefore to fully be safe, make use of security scans. Security scan checks for vulnerabilities and provide feedback on which spot needs updates. Scans are your second line of defense.
3. Back Up Your System
When you have offsite or cloud backups, ransomware payment demands will not worry you. You download your files back from these sites. Always back up in secure places that hackers cannot access. System backups help recover faster from ransomware attacks.
4. Limit What Hackers Can Access
Avoid using one whole network as it grants hacker access to your entire system. Segment the network instead so that different parts of your system exist in different network zones and with different credentials.
5. Educate Your Staff to Maintain Good Cybersecurity Practices
Ransomware comes via scam and phishing emails; therefore, tell your employees to avoid such by being attentive. Also, they should avoid leaving information that makes systems variable out in the open, e.g. on social media. This information includes location, links, and usernames; It’s what is used to craft phishing emails.
What to Do During a Ransomware Attack?
Having said that, how do you then recover after a ransomware attack? We know that absolute security is not possible; hackers compromise any system even those with up-to-date protection. Surviving this attack involves these steps:
- Isolate the infected devices: take them offline so the malware cannot spread to other systems
- Determine the malware strain via identification tools and messages displayed
- Report to the IT department and authorities so that counter-attack measures can be coordinated
- Use your backups or get new platforms
- Assess the damage and malware-proof your system for future attacks
The bottom line, ransomware attacks are perpetrated by hackers because they know most people will get to get their precious files back. To discourage this, avoid paying the ransom as it encourages such behavior, instead, stay focused with the above few tips and contact IT specialists in case of attacks.