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Ransomware is a malicious virus that a cyber criminal will inflict on businesses small and large. They encrypt your systems and data and blackmail you to pay a ransom in order to regain access, putting your business operations on hold and causing chaos. There are different ways cyber criminals inflict ransomware and often there is a deadline to pay otherwise the ransom fee increases. It is advised that you should not pay a ransom, as this is fuelling a criminal industry, giving criminals the adrenaline to carry on as they are getting away with it.

Paying the ransom is the easy way out. It is important to not give in and instead protect yourself with backups and recovery solutions to stop your business from crippling if you were to be subjected to a ransomware attack. Additionally, you can never be certain that if you pay the fee, that you will regain access or that they won’t start asking for more money.

So, how do I get ransomware?

The most common method is through email, where the email might include malicious attachments or links that once clicked will enable the ransomware. Attackers use social engineering to make emails appear legitimate which tricks the user into opening or clicking on links and attachments. For example, you may receive an email from your boss asking you to order 20 balloons for the client event next week (that is legitimately happening) which then doesn’t cause any doubt in your mind that who you are talking to isn’t your boss and you comply.

Types of ransomware

Scareware

This includes deceiving security software and tech support scams which aren’t actually that scary. Pop up messages may appear claiming malware has been found and you must pay up to get rid of it but the reality is, if you do not pay you may continue to be bombarded with spam pop-ups but your files should be safe.

Screen Lockers

This is when attackers will freeze and take over your screen to state they are for example the FBI and they have identified that illegal activity has been detected on your computer. The thing is, if this was the case the FBI wouldn’t approach you in this way and instead would use the appropriate legal channels. Therefore it is important to be wary and not take things face value.

Encrypting ransomware

This is the serious stuff. These are the criminals that encrypt your files and demand that you pay or else you will lose everything. This is a very scary situation as your business essentially is put on hold as everything to do with your business is now in the hands of a criminal.

  • Attachments and Links

    Educating your teams is an effective measure to implement. Firstly, make them aware of ransomware and the implications to the business and secondly help them understand how to spot unsolicited emails, and to be wary when clicking on attachments and links. If you are interested in teaching your team about “How to spot a phishing email” direct them to our blog. 

  • Patches

    Be sure to keep your computer patches up to date. This will help protect your computer from any known ransomware.

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