Ransomware Protection - What Can You Do?
The wave of reports from authorities and companies that have fallen victim to an attack with the so-called ransomware does not stop. But what exactly is it? And how can you protect yourself and your IT?
What is ransomware? Protection from the software
Ransomware is malware. The name is derived from the English terms “malware” (= malicious software) and the English word for “ransom” (“ransom”). And this already explains very well what this form of malware is all about.
The authors of these programs try to extort ransom money from their victims. Once installed, the software encrypts a computer's data. Some variants can also spread over networks and paralyze the IT of an entire company. The data can then only be restored by purchasing a suitable key. With its help, the data should then be able to be decrypted again. Payment is anonymous via cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
Is ransomware a modern phenomenon?
While reports of attacks on businesses and government agencies are mounting, ransomware is not a new phenomenon. As early as the late 1980s, there was malware that could encrypt data distributed across floppy disks. This type of attack made it into the general public with the "PGPCoder" in 2005. This encrypted a whole range of file formats and then deleted the originals. For a payment of 200 US dollars, which is moderate from today's perspective, the user got his data back.
How can you prevent a ransomware attack?
In principle, the same applies to protection against ransomware as to all other computer viruses:
- Do not open email attachments from strangers.
- Do not download software from unreliable sources on the Internet
- Do not use USB sticks of unknown origin
- Use an up-to-date antivirus program and keep the operating system up to date
In a company, special rules apply here. All employees should be regularly trained on the subject of computer security. The company's IT department is of particular importance here. After all, their employees are largely responsible for IT security. Here, too, you should always refresh the knowledge of those involved. The knowledge of your employees is crucial for protection against ransomware.
Ransomware Protection - Secure your data
Whether you work in a company or on your personal computer. There is one elementary rule of conduct that is the safest protection against ransomware attacks: Back up your important data.
In times of modern cloud storage, you are no longer dependent on backing up your data on your computer. Copy important papers and documents to external storage media or to the cloud. It is best to call them up directly from there.
And if the computer is infected with ransomware?
If the worst comes to the worst, your computer can usually no longer be saved. If the system was open to a ransomware attack, it might have been vulnerable to other attacks as well.
There is one thing you should definitely not do: give in to the blackmail of the perpetrators. If in doubt, pay the requested amount and still not get your data back. Instead, quarantine the affected computers. Ask your administrator to completely reinstall the computers.
Finally, restore the data from your last backup. Because you now know: the best protection against lost data is backed up data.
Do you have questions about ransomware protection?
The experts at our detective agency will be happy to answer your questions about ransomware protection or IT security in general. Protect against ransomware now! Write us an email or give us a call.