Ransomware has been at the forefront of the majority of news regarding cyber attacks, mostly because of the scary and callousness nature of the attack itself.
Encrypting the data that is hosted on the main hard drive, it effectively locks out the user from the entire computer, rendering it useless until the ransom has been paid. Some other instances may lock the user from any particular program, and asking instead for a “renewal fee” to unlock that singular program for the user.
Both of these types of ransomware are designed to be intimidating to those who are targeted, especially those who own a business. The sums of money being demanded can start from $2,000 and a reported USD $40,000 was requested not so long ago from a small business owner. With sensitive data of clients and the businesses financial targets being held, many people see no other choice other than to surrender.
However, there are a series of mitigation procedures that you can put into place to stop the ransomware in its tracks. In this article, we’ve listed some key points to look out for and be diligent about in the prevention of ransomware assaults. It is also important to note that ransomware is not instant. These attacks take time as to not derive suspicion, so a keen eye can also halt the process, if you have been targeted.
As we mentioned in our first installment of our cyber security series, a favoured approach of attack is through cleverly composed emails. These emails will normally have a document attached, with the message itself designed to be vague and portraying itself to be either a reply to previous correspondence or as a general enquiry, urging you to download the file.
If it looks suspicious, chances are that it most likely is dangerous. You should be diligent in checking email addresses and crosschecking them with your client database to see whether it is infact a genuine email or a potential ransomware attack. For those portraying themselves as an enquiry, this again requires diligence to identify the genuineness of the message.
As a general safeguard, it may be worthwhile to forcibly prevent and executable programs or applications from being run by a third party through your group policy settings. This can be done both on Mac and Windows computers. Whilst it is not a cover all solution (ransomware attackers can still take over the workings of what you see on your screen), it will stop any sensitive information from being passed over, giving you some level of peace of mind.
Whilst it seems obvious, many ransomware attacks present themselves as malware or trojans, and can be detected by all conventional antivirus programs. This will ensure that, should you accidentally navigate to an unsafe website, that your data will not be compromised by letting the ransomware attack pass through. Always make sure that your antivirus program is uptodate, and that it allows no exceptions from dangerous websites.