Protecting Yourself From Ransomware

If you’ve been listening to the news at all the past couple of weeks, you have undoubtedly heard of a number of companies being affected by ransomware. The recent surge in this form of cyber attack has many organizations and users understandably concerned. And you should be. Ransomware is nasty stuff. But with some careful preparation, you can significantly lower your risk of being infected, and reduce the impact on you or your organization should you get hit.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of malware that infects devices, networks, and data centers and prevents them from being used until the user or organization pays a ransom to have the system unlocked. Ransomware has been around since at least 1989, when the “PC Cyborg” trojan encrypted file names on a hard drive and insisted users pay $189 to have them unlocked. In the interim, ransomware attacks have become increasingly sophisticated, targeted, and lucrative.

The impact of ransomware is difficult to calculate, since many organizations opt to simply pay to have their files unlocked – an approach that doesn’t always work. But a report on the Cryptowall v3 ransomware campaign, issued in October of 2015 by the Cyber Threat Alliance, estimated that the cost of that single attack was US $325 million. (You can read the full report here)

Ransomware generally works in one of several ways. Crypto Ransomware can infect an operating system so that a device is unable to boot up. Other ransomware will encrypt a drive or a set of files or file names. Some malicious versions have a timer and begin deleting files until a ransom has been paid. All demand that a ransom be paid in order to unlock or release the blocked or encrypted system, files, or data.

What Do I Do to Stop it? Here are ten things you need to do to protect yourself and your organization from the effects of ransomware; READ MORE…