Ransomware is a frightening foe. One day, you are working and a message appears indicating that access to your company’s data and systems is removed until you pay a ransom. As you can imagine, this grinds work to a halt and leaves business owners panicked. Do you pay the ransom and hope you get your information back or try to find a way around it?
The first step in dealing with a ransomware infection is to remain calm. We are here to help you get through this situation and prevent future ransomware infections. Follow these steps, and remember you can always get in touch with us for support.
Ideally, you will have an understanding of ransomware and how it works before you are ever faced with an infection. Ransomware is a type of malware that often shows up on people’s devices thanks to infected emails and links. Social engineering manipulates human behavior, opening doors for hackers to unleash a ransomware attack.
There are several different types of ransomware. The first is scareware, which threatens users with the idea that there is a ransomware infection on their computer and that they must pay. Scareware does not generally compromise data, but many people succumb to the threat and make a payment anyway.
Screen lock ransomware and encrypting ransomware have a more noticeable effect. Your screen will seize up and prevent you from accessing anything but the ransomware message, and/or your files will be stolen and encrypted with a demand for payment.
Dealing With A Ransomware Attack
Regardless of what kind of ransomware you are dealing with, do not pay the ransom. This is advice straight from the FBI, which says paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee the return of data, and encourages further cybercrime.
Try to determine which type of ransomware you are dealing with. If it’s scareware, the threat is less than that of other infections. Check to see if you can access any files or folders. If so, you are looking at cleaning the virus out of your system, but your data is likely fine.
Otherwise, you are dealing with a more challenging form of ransomware. Take a photo of the ransom message to help identify the specific strain. Present this to authorities if need be. If you are working with a tech company like ours, give us a call right away!
Disconnect your device from all others, including external devices like storage drives. Go offline, ensuring your device is quarantined from the rest of the network.
Then, typically, your options are to try to remove the malware or to wipe the system and reinstall it from scratch. Your method will likely depend on whether or not you have an updated backup of your business information and if there is a known way to remove the malware. So long as you have a solid backup, it is usually easier, faster, and more effective to wipe out the system, thus removing all traces of infection.
Preventing Further Ransomware Issues
The best way to avoid ransomware problems is to prevent vulnerabilities in the first place. Ransomware prevention comes down to two main tasks: educating and training employees to avoid social engineering attacks, and shoring up your tech infrastructure to monitor, detect, and alert for threats.
The human component may be the more challenging of the two. Technology is fairly predictable and easy to manage when you have the right services and tools in place, but you never know exactly what human error will bring. All staff should understand what ransomware is, how it shows up on a computer, and what they can do to avoid it. Employees should know to be wary of unwanted or unexpected emails and to report any suspicious links or messages.
As for the technology side, all infrastructure should be regularly updated. Anti-virus and anti-malware solutions should be firmly in place to guard against ransomware and other threats proactively. Every piece of the system should be restricted so that people can only access what they need and so that programs cannot automatically download or execute in vulnerable areas.
With ransomware prevention in place, the next step is business continuity. Ransomware is not the only thing that can take out data. Natural disasters and human error can leave you scrambling to restore information and get your business back on its feet. Creating a business continuity plan helps in all of these scenarios, ransomware included.
The goal is to have your data backed up at a frequency that ensures you can get back to business without too much lost information. These backups need to be secured and separated from your main systems so that challenges like ransomware, viruses, or disasters won’t take out the backup at the same time as the rest of the data.
Working With An MSP
A managed service provider is your shield against ransomware attacks. We work hard to prevent these problems from taking hold, carefully combing through your systems to find areas of risk and vulnerability. We use secure remote access tools and can monitor 24/7 anywhere your devices may be. We also work to secure every endpoint, managing the security and permissions of your corporate email, documents, and applications.
We're Here To Help
With our help, all of your business data will be backed up, securely, offsite. Any time you need to restore information, it will be ready to go. And, if you find yourself dealing with a ransomware attack or other infection, you can count on us to move quickly to bring your business back online. We will create a custom incident response and business continuity plan for you and test it to be sure it will work.