8 Steps to Take to Avoid Being Infected by Ransomware

There is a growing threat that is causing many victims to be infected by ransomware.

Cybercriminals are attacking innocent users with a wide range of malware and then demanding money from the user in order for the user to get access to their own files.  There are two basic types of ransomware: 1) crypto ransomware and 2) locker ransomware.

Crypto Ransomware (data locker)

This is the most common ransomware which aims to prevent access to data and files by encrypting them.  This malware will find and encrypt valuable data stored on the computer making the data useless unless the user obtains the decryption key.

Locker Ransomware (computer locker)

This malware is designed to deny access to the computer or device by locking it.  This ransomware utilizes social engineering techniques to pressure victims into paying.  Examples of social engineering techniques include masquerading as law enforcement authorities, or showing pornographic images to embarrass the user who feels pressured to pay the fine.

ransomware attack

Cyber criminals are using ransomware to lock computers, lock data and extort money

Businesses As Targets

Business computers that contain business plans, databases, forms, proposals, reports, source code, and tax compliance documents are primary targets for ransomware threats.  Symantec reports that modern crypto ransomware threats can catalog all accessible drives, such as local file-share servers, and encrypt files on these as well. More than one system can be impacted by just a single crypto ransomware infection the loss of which can have a catastrophic impact on the business.

What can you do to avoid being infected?

  1. Always keep your security software up to date
  2. Ensure the operating system and installed software are patched regularly
  3. Think before clicking on links and banners like “download free software”
  4. Don’t install programs from untrusted sources
  5. Be wary of websites that ask you to update software, settings or drivers
  6. Get into the habit of regularly backing up data that is stored on your system
  7. If you are infected by ransomware, don’t pay the money… even if the money is paid, the criminals will not always restore access to your computer or files
  8. Use one of the free tools from reputable security software providers like Symantec to reclaim your files from the ransomware:

If you want a more in-depth understanding of ransomware, download the Symantec whitepaper – Evolution of Ransomware.

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