Since the start of the pandemic, wherein the majority of the companies were forced to migrate their work from office to home, there has been a steady increase in cyber-attacks recorded. Since almost all types of work have been digitally transformed and security measures are instilled or inspected remotely, it has been easier for bad actors to penetrate security controls and get hold of a business’ data.
One of the most common attacks that have been observed is ransomware.
What is ransomware, and how to know if you are a victim of it?
The term ransomware is derived from its root words ransom and malware. It is a type of malware that keeps users from accessing their systems and devices unless the amount demanded is paid, hence the name.
The most common–and well, obvious–sign that you’re a victim to ransomware is that you have been locked out of your system, and a ransom is demanded to recover your access. The message is usually presented with instructions on how to pay the ransom and the deadline of payment.
What do you do if you’ve fallen victim to ransomware?
There are dozens of ways of infecting your systems with ransomware, and a common practice is through a social engineering attack called malicious spam. Malicious spam deceives users into opening an attachment or clicking on a link where the virus is waiting to be downloaded.
Ironically, it can also be downloaded through a pop-up message notifying you that your device has been infected with a virus. The notification usually comes with the sentences: “Click here for more information” or “Click here to resolve the issue.”
Suppose you remember clicking on any of these types of suspicious communication. In that case, it’s best to reach out to your organisation’s cyber security team and follow their instructions to the best of your ability.
If immediate help is unavailable, disconnect your system in every way possible.
Whether to disable your wifi, unplug your cables and adaptors, or set your phone to aeroplane mode, it is advisable to try and prevent the ransomware from travelling to other networks or files by isolating your device.
What are the best practices to prevent ransomware?
Ransomware can occur in multiple ways, and one way is social engineering. When it comes to social engineering attacks, the best defence is to be hypervigilant and knowledgeable of what they look like and how they are committed. However, aside from this tip, here are several more on how you can potentially avoid ransomware:
● Have an excellent cyber security strategy in place.
● Try not to plug any USB devices into your computer, especially if they are from a public and unknown source.
● Practice backing up your files in a secure separate cloud or hardware storage.
● Avoid connecting to public wireless networks if possible.
● Be mindful of what websites, attachments, and links you’re accessing. If the source seems suspicious and unfamiliar, it’s best to move that message to the bin.
If breached, try not to pay the demanded amount. Either way, your data and files have already been compromised, and it does nothing but encourage the bad actors to continue such a heinous act.
For more information about ransomware or other cyberattacks and how you can prevent them, click here to speak with one of our Cyber Security advisors today.