All businesses, no matter how big or small, or no matter what field they operate in, need to be aware of ransomware, educate their employees on it, and take the required steps to ensure that their business does not end up being held to ransom.
What is ransomware? There really is only one place to begin, and this is by determining what ransomware is. This is a type of malware that is installed onto a device. It will typically be installed in the background because someone has opened a file attachment or clicked on a rogue link. This highlights why it is so important to teach your workforce to be diligent while online.
There are a number of different ways in which a device can be infected through ransomware. The vast majority of ransomware will start to work straight away because it is automated. Typically, an attack is going to target your data, from your files and your documents to your pictures. There are a number of different ways you may be notified of this sort of attack, for example, the screen on your device may become completely locked, your web browser may lock, you may notice a ransom note appear on your screen and you cannot get rid of it, your files may have been removed, and your files could have become encrypted. These are all signs that you have become a victim of ransomware.
While the type and nature of ransomware do differ on a case-by-case basis, more often than not, you will be demanded to pay a ransom in order to get access to your data again. Despite this, even if you make the payment, there is no guarantee that you are going to get your data back.
What steps should you take to stop an attack from happening? There are a number of different steps that you can take at your company to lower the chances of a malware attack happening. This includes the following:
- You should use the cloud to store your files. Make sure you use a service like OneDrive, i.e. a secure off-network storage service.
- Do not click on pop-up windows and do not try to shut them down. The best thing to do is to head to Task Manager or Force Quit and then shut them down this way.
- Make sure that you stay up-to-date with all of the latest ransomware attacks from Microsoft Support. Staying in-the-know can make a big difference.
- When you receive an email, read the header carefully. You also need to look out for fake email addresses, typos and misspellings.
- Make sure that you have an IT and computer policy in place at your business. All of your staff members should be taught about the importance of IT security.
- Make sure that you are safe at all times. If you are sent to a website and it has been flagged as unsafe, go back to safety. Do not ignore the warning and proceed to the website anyway.
- Get a security professional in to check all of your operating systems, networks, and devices.
- Make sure that you have the correct level of anti-virus software.