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12th May 2017 saw one of the biggest cyber attacks in the history of internet. There were millions of people who became victims to this cyber theft.
The Ransomware “WannaCry” hit web like a storm and hit millions worldwide. In just few hours, two lakh systems were hit by WannaCry. Organizations like Renault and UK’s National Health Service had to bear massive losses from this malware attack. Germany’s National Railways and Spain’s leading Broadband and Telecommunications company also fell victims to it.
Are you and your business prepared for it?
All we need are some measures to protect ourselves and keep safe and protected from this malware. This ransomware has the tendency to destroy your system and your work completely.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a malicious virus that is designed to enter your systems and hack it. It blocks your access to the system and can only be regained after providing the hackers with a sum of money or ransom. Hackers usually demand $300-600, with payments in bitcoins. The hackers do not decrypt the blocked files till the ransom is paid and the surety of getting your entire data back is also minimalistic.
Ransomware is considered to be amongst the most widespread threats faced by the internet users today. It first came to light in the year 2013, when the world saw a new form of file-encrypting ransomware called Cryptolocker. They first delivered spam messages along with exploit kits to some users and then extorted money from them.
Small businesses are the ones who have been attacked by them the most. In the last year, 45% of ransomware attacks were done on small businesses. Some companies have shut down due to short cut on the expenses.
Infographic depicting the damage caused by ransomware.
What are the various types of ransomware that can affect your system?
Amidst hundreds of ransomwares, we have mentioned few of them that can be very dangerous for your systems.
This Ransomware is the least disastrous one. When your devices are hit by a scareware, a warning message appears on your screen, portraying your devices containing infinite issues in it. A cleanup tool is then prescribed for your system, through which the ransom is collected.
Encrypting ransomware is very difficult to remove from your system once it enters it. Encrypting Ransomware encrypts files and data from your system and demands money to decrypt data. This virus is almost impossible for you to remove from your system.
If your system freezes and you see an FBI logo on your screen, then you are being hit by a Lock-screen ransomware. You shall also be accused of being a part of an illegal activity and these people shall demand you money to get out of it.
Even though, you can easily be the victims of such cyber attacks. There can still be some security measures that one can implement to protect their systems from such malicious viruses or threats.
1. Backup Your Data
This is surely a vital step to be performed by you that can help you from losing your sensitive data or information. Cloud storage or other drives can be used to copy and record all your data. This is a preventive act that can help you save on something important if you lose them.
2. Installation of Anti- Ransomware Software
Prevention is better than cure and the best way of prevention is staying protected. In order to stay protected, one must install an Anti- Ransomware software along with Windows firewall in their systems to prevent the virus from creeping in. It recognizes and blocks such malicious threats from entering your systems and removes them automatically.
Experts advise the installation of Windows security patch MS17-010 for protection against Ransomware.
3. Avoid the Use of Remote Services
Ransomware usually attacks software with a remote support. It enters the systems and apps, infusing an infection into the system. Teamviewer remote assistance app is usually used by them for a surprise attack. To prevent your systems, you should only make authenticated connections.
4. Improvise Email Security
Usually, ransomware attackers try to reach out to people through emails. This helps them target a larger audience. A link is attached to these emails which after opening automatically downloads the malware into your system. Such emails can be avoided from opening by filtering your settings to Anti-Spamming mode that can help your inbox stay away from contaminated emails.
5. Do Not Pay The Ransom
Ransomware victims should not pay the Ransom. It is motivating for the attackers and the surety of the full data recovery is minimal. Your data can be recovered through various other means, various applications or programs. So don't panic and fall prey to this hoax.
6. Avoid Clicking on Suspicious Links
Such viruses find various ways to get into your system. Avoid clicking on various links that you find suspicious. Avoid clicking on emails that you find unworthy. There might be a risk involved. Ignore such emails and delete them from your inbox, the moment you receive it.
7. Regular Updation
With various updates, there are various advanced tools that help system to grow in all ways. Usually, systems without regular updation are considered to be sensitive to such attacks. Ransomware tends to find loopholes in your system and enter it. Users do not pay much attention in fixing these problems, and it results in the hijacking of your systems by the attackers. These patches are critical and people should take this seriously. An updation can help you to slow down the intensity of the damage.
Ransomware can directly hit your business and even break your operations with immediate effect. It’s good for you not to wait until you are trapped and then require someone to help you out with a decryption tool.
Therefore, you should make small but steady changes in your IT management to prevent these Ransomware attacks. My only advice to you is to hire an IT expert, who will be responsible for day to day updates and do basic configurations based on new practice.