A ransom malware, or ransomware attack is when a malicious software encrypts files on a device and holds them hostage until the victim pays a ransom. In some cases the victim must pay within a set amount of time or risk losing access to those files forever. Ransomware attacks have become extremely successful over the past few years. These cybercriminals prey on their unsuspecting victims by tricking them into installing malware on their device.

There are many different kinds of ransomware, but they all have one thing in common: a ransom. Reported attacks in the U.S. have dropped over the past few years, but the threat is still very active on the Internet today. By taking the following precautions, you can protect your files and avoid becoming a cyberbully’s next victim.

  • Do not pay the ransom. The FBI will back this decision. All this does is encourage the cybercriminals to launch additional attacks on others. Besides, there is no guarantee that you’ll regain access to your files.
  • Do not click on links or email attachments from unconfirmed sources. Ransomware can be distributed through email via infected attachments or links to malicious websites.
  • Do not provide your personal information when replying to an email, text or phone call if you don’t know the source. Many cybercriminals claim to be from IT, so be sure to contact your IT department if you or any of your coworkers have received a suspicious email, text or call.
  • Make it a priority to regularly back up your files onto an external hard drive. This can limit the damage caused by a ransomware attack significantly.  
  • Update your operating system and any software as soon as possible. These updates usually contain patches for security vulnerabilities. It’s best to enable automatic updates whenever possible.
  • Make sure to disable Autorun for any mounted devices. This will prevent malware from being spread autonomously.
  • When possible, disable remote desktop connections. This will prevent cybercriminals from being able to access your devices remotely.
  • At the very least, you can help block known, common malware strains by running security software, setting up antivirus solutions and firewalls.

The best way to protect against a ransomware attack is to educate yourself and your organization. And above all else, use common sense. If it seems suspicious, it probably is. However, in the unfortunate event that you have been attacked by ransomware, please contact us for assistance on recovering your data. Call a Workforce I.T. team member now – 904.638.8406