How can business owners protect company data from ransomware threats?
Before taking steps to protect data from ransomware, it’s important to understand just what ransomware is. Ransomware is malicious software introduced to a system that corrupts existing software, making it impossible to access files. Security professionals point out that since ransomware removal can be incredibly difficult, it’s important to protect systems from infection.
Systems without quality virus software are especially vulnerable to ransomware threats. While virus software may not provide full protection, it does block the majority of potentially harmful ransomware. Installing and routinely updating virus software is the most effective prevention, but educating employees to the dangers of visiting unknown sites or opening attachments is also important.
Properly backing up data to a remote site is crucial. Since security experts warn against paying ransom, having the ability to restore data is vitally important for business owners. Because onsite backup hard drives can also be affected, consider using a cloud-based backup service for data storage and back up files often.
Train your employees not to browse bad “internet neighborhoods” such as adult sites, file sharing sites, and even certain message boards. These are common hotbeds of hacker and malware activity and the chances for a malicious attack simply from visiting a website go up quite a bit in these types of sites. Also train employees how to spot suspicious emails before they get onto company computers. Tell them not to open any unknown attachments or files.
Through some very simple steps you can avoid getting ransomware altogether.
What can companies do if a ransomware attack is successful?
As noted previously, security experts do not recommend paying a ransom. Remember, there is no guarantee access to files will actually be restored, and providing any type of account information is encouraging further security issues. The first step should be to notify law enforcement authorities of the attack. After filing a report, contact a company that provides data restoration services. Although the restoration process can be difficult, it is generally better to restore a system using backed up data than to risk additional issues by capitulating to the ransom demands.
While it is difficult to get rid of ransomware, taking precautions now can prevent significant losses should a system be infected. Working with security professionals before a problem arises is recommended rather than simply reacting to a bad situation later.
Another thing you may want to do is to report the attack to the FBI. Ransomware is a very serious form of extortion and although local police stations probably won’t be able to do much, the FBI may be quite interested as they are continuously tracking online crime.