What is ransomware?
As the name suggests, ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts files or locks computers until a specified ransom is paid in full. Cybercriminals threaten to destroy the encrypted data if the ransom isn’t met by a predetermined date.
How do ransomware infections happen?
Someone clicked on something! In almost every case, ransomware was made possible by malicious links or attachments sent via email. In a small percentage of attacks, cybercriminals successfully manipulated security holes to inject the malware into a network without human interaction, but that is rare.
Why is ransomware so popular?
Unlike traditional data breaches, which result in stolen information, attackers use ransomware to lock up crucial systems. They know that most entities will pay to have those systems restored. For example, a city in Florida paid a steep price to regain control of their systems, which included emergency dispatch services. Ransomware provides a quick and healthy payday in a way that even the largest data breaches can’t.
Preventing Ransomware in 3 Easy Steps
First things first–preventing ransomware and other cyber-attacks begins and ends with following our organization’s policies. They are designed to protect all of us, and circumventing policies, for any reason, puts us at risk. With that in mind, follow these three steps to prevent ransomware in your personal life, and if you have any questions about our policies here at work, please ask!
1. Stay alert for phishing attacks. Some are easy to spot thanks to obvious indicators like poor grammar, bad spelling, and threatening language (like claiming your account has been suspended or that you owe a delinquent tax payment). Other attacks use more sophisticated techniques, such as sending an unpaid invoice to someone. No matter what, think before you click, and stay alert!
2. Keep systems up to date. Even if ransomware rarely spreads via security vulnerabilities, outdated systems are begging to get hacked. Enable auto-update on all of your devices and apps so you never miss an important security patch.
3. Back up your data. Security researchers recommend that you keep at least two redundant copies of your data and store one of those copies at a second location (such as the Cloud). There are plenty of free programs that will manage your backups and run automatically. But to fully shield yourself from ransomware, consider storing a backup offline so it doesn’t get impacted should you run into ransomware.
KnowBe4 is the world’s most largest and popular integrated Security Awareness Training combined with Simulated Phishing attack platform, utilizing social engineering methods and strategies to conduct training. Founded in 2010, a US company located in Tama Bay, Florida with over 19,000 customers base across different sectors globally. Managing by CEO & employees of ex-antivirus experts and IT security Pros. KnowBe4 has been a winner of two consecutives Inc. 500 awards.