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Recent statistics have a chilling story to tell about ransomware attacks. An organization becomes a victim of ransomware every 11 seconds. Further, by the end of 2022, ransomware's damage is expected to reach $21 billion.
The rise in cybersecurity crime has many businesses on edge. In fact, even start-ups invest in cybersecurity from day one to ensure it does not disrupt their business or even shut them down completely.
Another recent statistic suggests that one out of every eight small businesses will need to file for bankruptcy this year because they fell victim to a cyberattack.
The best way to defend your business from ransomware attacks is with education. When you understand what it is and how it happens, you can create the necessary security measures to prevent them.
Here is what to know about ransomware and cybersecurity.
What Are Ransomware Attacks?
From crypto-virology, ransomware is a kind of malware. The ransomware threatens a victim with publishing their personal data. They also threaten to permanently block a user’s access unless the user pays a ransom fee.
Some forms of ransomware may not damage files, but only lock the user’s system. There is more advanced malware on the attack today that uses a technique technology experts call cryptoviral extortion.
There are many ransomware variants, including:
The way ransomware implements itself varies. However, they attack at these common core stages.
First, they will infect and disrupt vectors. Next, they will encrypt the files on your machine. Last, the cybercriminal demands a ransom.
How to Stop Ransomware Attacks
The best thing to do about ransomware attacks is to stop them before they start. You want to leverage best practices with proper preparation. This will not only decrease how a ransomware attack with impact your company, but it will decrease the cost that is associated with fixing cyberattacks.
There are plenty of security benefits when you follow these best practices.
Educate Employees on Cyber Awareness
The primary source for ransomware to be attacked is a user receiving a phishing email. Employees need to identify a phishing email and not click on its content. A phishing email will ask the user to click on a malicious link, so avoiding such links will prevent ransomware attacks.
Backup Data Often
The way ransomware works are that it will restore a user’s access if they pay a ransom. However, if you back up your data often, you can recover your data following an attack with minimal data loss and you do not need to pay the ransom. Regular backups must be routine.
Cybercriminals will find vulnerabilities in a system and target it before a developer can create a patch. That is why patches are so important and your technology team must keep up to date with them. When they apply patches to your systems, it reduces potential vulnerabilities.
Weak passwords create vulnerabilities. First, it is important to choose a strong password that another person cannot guess; but second, it helps to add two-factor authentication.
Two-factor authentication requires two factors to verify your identity. You would need two of the following three factors to gain access to your account:
Essentially, two-factor authentication goes beyond just the username and password.
How Can You Remove Ransomware?
If a ransom message appears, this means that ransomware was successful in infecting your machine. When you experience an active ransomware infection, you will need to respond to it. You must decide whether or not you will pay the ransom.
Mitigate the Infection
Often, a user will only detect ransomware after data encryption completes. You will know because you will see a display of the ransom note. While you cannot recover your encrypted files, there are still steps you can take to lessen the potential damage.
First, place the machine with the infection in quarantine. Ransomware usually attempts to spread to other machines and connected drives. That is why it is important to stop the spread by quarantining.
Next, it may tempt you to turn the computer off, especially because it will appear unstable. However, this will decrease the likelihood of recovery, including a loss of volatile memory. Leave your computer on while you sort this out.
Backups and Decryption
Then, create a backup. It is possible sometimes to decrypt the files even when you do not pay the ransom. Grab a removable media and make a copy of your encrypted files, particularly in case a future decryption attempt fails.
If you want to try to decrypt your files, you can check out the No More Ransom Project. They may have a decryptor available for free. Another option is to seek the help of a digital forensics expert.
Finally, you will want to wipe and restore your machine. You can use an operating system installation or a clean backup. This way, the malware will be removed from your device completely.
Investing in Cybersecurity
Choosing a trusted partner to help you with compliance and cybersecurity will reduce risks and improve your infrastructure. Discover the security benefits of working with The Driz Group!
Unfortunately, no business is immune to cybersecurity challenges when you have digital assets. That is why you need a partner to help you solve complex information security problems.
The professionals at The Driz Group help their customers every day to prevent and mitigate ransomware attacks by proactively managing their cybersecurity programs.
Prevent data breaches before they happen and contact The Driz Group today!
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Steve E. Driz, I.S.P., ITCP