Ransomware: what it is, how it works and how to avoid it
Ransomware has been a hot topic since the cyberattacks boom in 2016, in several countries, such as: Ukraine, Russia, United Kingdom, India, causing incalculable losses for several companies, which started to look deeper into the Ransomware world – what it is and how to avoid it.
But after all, do you know what Ransomware is, how it works and how to avoid it in your company?
Well, in order for you to learn more about the subject, I bring here a compilation of the main information.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is malware that can be present in several formats. It can infect only one system or an entire corporate network. For example, if a user on your network becomes infected with Ransomware, they can transmit the problem to your entire corporation.
After a user is infected with the malware, the company is at great risk, as the hackers responsible for the attack will have access to all critical company information, such as reports, forecasts, payrolls, bank details, client data, confidential information, etc.
After collecting all this information, they block a user’s or the entire corporation’s access to such data through an encrypted password, and require some form of payment so that the information is not deleted or leaked, depending on the case.
There are several ways to be infected with this type of virus, but there are also several ways to prevent a Ransomware on your system. Here’s how:
- Accessing only SSL websites. When accessing websites that do not have the HTTPS domain, your browser does not guarantee complete security of the data being transmitted on that website.
- Having a reliable antivirus. Having an antivirus and running scans on a regular basis are critical to finding this type of problem at an early stage.
- Suspicious emails. One of the main weapons hackers use to capture users’ information is through surreal e-mail promotions, stimulating clicks or requesting the updating of data in management systems or banks, for example.
- Operating System. It is extremely important to update your operating system whenever an update is available. In addition to changing the visual and usability aspects, security systems are also reinforced, reducing the risk of Ransomware on your system. Also, do not forget to keep your operating system’s firewall always on.
- Browser. As with operating systems, browsers are concerned with the security of user information, and every new update has reinforcements for anti-phishing systems.
- Unknown software. Avoid using unknown software, especially when downloaded from unexplored websites.
- Performing backups frequently. If a formatting occurs in all of your company’s data, it is essential to have some type of backup so that there are no major losses.
- Cybersecurity Solutions. As avoiding Ransomware is a difficult task to be controlled at the corporate level, implementing an endpoint protection solution is a recommended option. A Privilege Elevation and Delegation Management (PEDM) solution is one that, in many cases, can protect workstations from ransomware attacks. By controlling the privileges of a workstation, it is possible to prevent infection by this type of malicious software.
What to do if you are infected?
If you have not followed practices on how to avoid Ransomware and have already been infected, you have a serious problem.
Normally, and unfortunately, we discover we have been hacked through a lock screen with a countdown, stating that our data will only be returned upon some kind of payment.
If this happens to you, perform the following practices:
Disconnect all devices. In order for the problem not spread to other systems, disconnect all possible devices, such as: internet cable, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.
Formatting the computer. After formatting it, use the backup you have made to recover your documents. If this backup has not been made, unfortunately you have lost all or much of your company’s information.
Now that you know what Ransomware is and how to avoid it, it is time to put the tips you have learned in this article into practice.
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