You can minimise your susceptibility to ransomware attacks by:
- Regularly backing up your files externally and offline. Businesses are most susceptible to ransomware when there are no file backups.
- Regularly updating your operating system, anti-virus software, and applications (patch!).
- Regularly running anti-virus programs and treating your computer when necessary.
- Using strong passwords, and changing them regularly.
- Not clicking on suspicious links in emails, even if they appear to be from a trusted source. Phishing attacks often lead to ransomware attacks.
- Educating employees on the importance of staying smart online.
- Only purchase online products and services after you have done your due diligence.
Ransomware will generally present itself clearly, in that your device will be unusable and there will be a message demanding payment.
It is best to detect ransomware before an attack by using an up-to date anti-virus program.
You can detect the phishing attempts that lead to ransomware by being vigilant when reading emails and visiting websites which ask you to click on links or download programs. If you receive an unusual email from what appears to be a trusted source (i.e. strange language used, offers something that seems too good to be true, etc.) consider contacting that source independently offline.
Responding to a Ransomware Attack
- It is not recommended that you pay a ransom in order to regain access to your device or network. There is no guarantee that you will regain access after paying, and the payment method will often be one that is difficult or impossible to trace, such as gift cards.
- Disconnect the device from your network to limit the scope of the attack.
- Check on your back up files using a different device and network. Avoid reconnecting until you are able to clean your affected device with
- EUROPOL and a number of software security vendors have launched a free decryption check called CRYPTO SHERIFF that can be accessed at www.nomoreransom.org.
- Assess what’s at risk and what would be lost. If there’s too much at stake you may have to consider paying but be careful, you’re dealing with criminals.
- Change your passwords and PINs.
- If you have supplied your credit card or account details, contact your financial institution.
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