From hospitals to police stations; from private-owned businesses to schools; ransomware is a recent, terrifying trend in the tech world that can affect you anytime, anywhere. Ransomware attacks are an increasingly popular way for cybercriminals to monetize your information by holding it hostage until you submit to paying the ransom they demand. Hackers encrypt your data and restrict your computer’s functionality until a ransom is paid. Even then, there’s still no guarantee that you’ll receive your information back in its original state or that it won’t be shared publicly by the cybercriminal. If you’re worried about what steps to take in the event of a ransomware cyber-attack, we have some helpful tips that may come in handy.
Always backup your data: Backing up your information to a secure, offline server can make all the difference when it comes to protecting what’s important to you. If the encrypted files aren’t stored on the affected computer, then you can generally avoid most issues. Physical hard drives, secure cloud storage options, and offsite data backup solutions are all great ways to out-maneuver ransomware without having to pony up a ransom payment. You should also consider Continuous Data Protection (CDP) which is a data protection method that automatically saves data whenever a change is made.
Avoid suspicious emails and links: Sophisticated cyber-attacks specifically target your computer with detailed emails designed to look like a message you’d typically receive. Look closely at the email address; scan the email for grammar mistakes and odd formatting; hover over hyperlinks (BUT DON’T CLICK ON THEM) and see where they redirect you. If any email asks for information like a social security number, think for a second: would any legitimate bank or organization request that information over email?
Update your cybersecurity: Nothing is easier to hack and encrypt than an outdated security system. Think of it like The Three Little Pigs—if your house is made of the strongest material, it’s going to be that much harder to blow the house down. Get with your company to determine effective measures to implement that are realistic. Shoring up your cybersecurity to minimize pain points is a great way to lessen the chance of ransomware spreading throughout your entire network.
Summary: If you find yourself subjected to a ransomware attack, taking heed of these three tips can go a long way towards minimizing the damage. Backing up your data, avoiding suspicious emails and links, and updating your cybersecurity can mean the difference between minimizing downtime for your system and incurring huge financial losses along with losing important data.
I’m currently a junior at Rutgers University, majoring in Human Resources with a minor in Music. My love for music has already led me to an associates degree in Music from Raritan Valley Community College.