Chances are, you’ve heard the term “ransomware” before. If you’re familiar with this particularly nasty bit of malware, the rest of this blog will be a familiar review. If you’re new to the term, let’s introduce you to the mean-spirited cyberattack known as ransomware.
Ransomware is simple to figure out if you’re familiar with how different malware types are named. “Scareware” is meant to intimidate a user, “spyware” spies on a system, and so on and so forth.
With that in mind, it makes sense that “ransomware” extorts its victims for access to their own resources.
Basically, rather than deleting data from a device, a ransomware program effectively encrypts everything on some level—whether that’s a file, a user’s workstation, or even an entire network. Once the user is locked out, the responsible party offers them the key… for a price.
Amplifying the pressure, these offers are often time sensitive. If the ransom (hence the name) isn’t received before the deadline passes, the attacker promises to delete everything. Of course, there’s no guarantee that the hacker holds up their end of the bargain, too, so paying these criminals never really works out.
While it sounds like a plot pulled from a summer blockbuster, ransomware is a very real and current threat to data security that has caused businesses no small amount of pain.
The actions that are available to a business in response to ransomware depend on when these actions are taken. Only acting once ransomware has set, it is too late for a business to do much at all. Proactivity is the name of the game, as it so often is.
To keep your data protected will take an approach with two considerations:
Ransomware is spread just as any malware is—by heavily relying on an end user to allow it access. Therefore, to keep it out, you need to ensure your team can identify and avoid things like phishing, and that they are vigilantly following the best practices you’ve taught them. This makes comprehensive user education crucial for you to follow through on.
The rule of thumb is this: once your data’s been encrypted by ransomware, it’s the same as though it was deleted. Therefore, you need to have a comprehensive and up-to-date backup saved and isolated from the original copy. This will allow you to safely restore your systems and resume work if ransomware were to strike.
R&L IT & Telecom Consultants is here to help protect your business and its productivity from threats of all kinds, including ransomware. To learn more about what we can do, reach out to our team by calling (718) 685-2959 today.