Learn how to prevent infections and recover data in the event that you fall victim to a ransomware attack.

A Problem that Shows No Signs of Going Away
Ransomware has become a menace for consumers, businesses, and institutions, creating the need to devote considerable resources to either preventing infections or recovering data when organizations do fall victim to a ransomware attack. It’s a problem that shows no sign of going away any time soon. That’s because ransomware is easy to carry out, difficult to protect against, and lucrative for cyber criminals. A significant percentage of businesses that get hit by ransomware end up paying the ransom to get their data back.

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What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is malicious software that prevents or restricts users from accessing a computer system or files — usually after a user clicks on a malicious link in an email or opens a malicious file received as an email attachment — unless a ransom is paid.

Ransomware hackers use a number of vectors: phishing emails, unpatched programs, compromised websites, poisoned online advertising and free software downloads. However, phishing emails are by far the most frequently used for ransomware attacks.

In addition to computers, ransomware can target mobile devices, smart TVs, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

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5 Ways to Protect Yourself from Ransomware Attacks


1.

PERFORM REGULAR AND CONSISTENT FILE BACKUPS

Users should immediately delete suspicious emails and always use caution when opening unsolicited emails, especially those containing links and/or attachments or visiting websites they are unfamiliar with. Never download an app or program that hasn’t been verified by an official store.

2.

BE SUSPICIOUS OF APPS, EMAILS & WEBSITES

Users should immediately delete suspicious emails and always use caution when opening unsolicited emails, especially those containing links and/or attachments or visiting websites they are unfamiliar with. Never download an app or program that hasn’t been verified by an official store.

3.

SEEK OUT ONGOING EDUCATION

As perpetrators of ransomware continue to innovate their tactics, attacks will only become more sophisticated. This is why it’s vital to drive awareness and educate end users on how to detect phishing campaigns, suspicious websites, and other scams.

4.

BE CAUTIOUS WHEN USING PUBLIC WI-FI

When using public Wi-Fi, users are effectively visible to everyone else on the network. Check security settings to ensure your device does not connect automatically to public Wi-Fi. Additionally, don’t share confidential or personal information via public Wi-Fi. Instead, opt to use a virtual private network (VPN) when possible. This hides a computer from those using a public network and helps to keep data secure.

5.

AVOID PAYING THE RANSOM

While it’s becoming increasingly common practice, paying the ransom does not always work. Attackers may not send a decryption key, could poorly implement the decryption process and damage files, or may deliver a larger ransom demand after receiving the initial payment. This could also have the effect of labeling an organization as a “soft target,” increasing the chances of them being attacked again in the future. If you think you or your organization have been the victim of ransomware, contact your local FBI field office and report the incident to the Bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.