Ransomware is a type of computer virus that generally presents the computer user with an ultimatum: pay a fee to unlock and reclaim personal data, or don’t pay the fee and lose the data indefinitely. Not a good choice!
Ransomware is basically a computer program that is able to automatically corrupt and delete files in the event that the ransom, in the form of monetary compensation is not received. This leaves most users with little time to resolve the problem through alternate means so the best way to keep yourself protected is to ensure you are not exposed from the start.
How to deal with Ransomware
- Do not pay the ransom. In the words of any world leader…. “We do not negotiate with terrorists” and essentially that is what these people are – cyber terrorists. Paying a ransom only encourages and funds these attackers. Even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee that you will be able to regain access to your files.
- Be sure you are backing up your data on a regular basis. If you do become a victim of a ransomware attack, you will be able to restore any impacted files from a known good backup. Restoration of your files from a backup is the fastest way to regain access to your data.
- Do not provide personal information when answering an email, unsolicited phone call, text message or instant message. Phishers will try to trick employees into installing malware, or gain intelligence for attacks by claiming to be from IT. Be sure to contact your IT department if you or your coworkers receive suspicious calls.
- Use reputable internet security software and a firewall – here at Broadband Compare we recommend Norton by Symantec - Maintaining a strong firewall and keeping your security software up to date are critical. It is important to use antivirus software from a reputable company because of fake software out there. Check out the options at Norton by clicking here.
- Employ content scanning and filtering on your mail servers. Inbound e-mails should be scanned for known threats and should block any attachment types that could pose a threat.
- Make sure that all systems and software are up-to-date with relevant patches. Exploit kits hosted on compromised websites are commonly used to spread malware. Regular patching of vulnerable software is necessary to help prevent infection.
- If traveling, alert your IT department beforehand, especially if you’re going to be using public wireless Internet. Make sure you use a trustworthy Virtual Private Network (VPN) when accessing public Wi-Fi like Norton WiFi Privacy.
Since this situation with Ransomware and the latest computer virus changes all the time it is important to keep your anti-virus software up to date. At Symantec researchers investigate new threats all the time and update their anti-virus software to ensure you are protected.
One recent example is the new strain of ransomware that appeared in multiple countries on June 27, 2017, the virus known as Petya ransomware emerged and began spreading itself to large organizations across Europe. This ransomware uses what is called the Eternal Blue exploit in Windows computers. It is not impacting individual users at the time of this writing but best to be prepared. If you are a Norton customer then you are already being protected against the Petya attacks that use the Eternal Blue exploit. If you are not using Norton we recommend you look at the options available here. You can currently save up to $40 on a multi-device package.
Be safe out there on the internet!