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Ransomware Shouldn’t Cost You a Thing

Ransomware Shouldn’t Cost You a Thing

If fortune smiles on your company, you won’t ever have to deal with what we are about to discuss: ransomware. For the past several years ransomware has been a major issue for businesses, governments, and individuals. Today, we will talk about ransomware, how there are different strategies, and how some people want to put a ban on ransomware payments. 

Common Types of Ransomware

As with most cyberthreats, ransomware keeps mutating, flooding the market with all types of dangerous malware. It can often be difficult to keep track of the threats. One thing is for certain, ransomware often relies on similar tactics to ultimately hold the data hostage. Let’s quickly take a look at five of the most common types of ransomware right now:

  • Cerber - Cerber targets Microsoft 365 users through the use of an elaborate phishing campaign. 
  • CryptoLocker - One of the most famous ransomware strains that is now just a copy of the original that was shut down back in 2014. 
  • CryLocker - CryLocker uses a personalized ransom note using the encrypted files on a person’s computer or server. This ransomware locks a person out of their computer entirely. 
  • Locky - Spread through phishing, this ransomware instructs users to enable macros to read the message. Once that’s complete, the malware will start encrypting files, and demanding a ransom. 
  • Jigsaw - One of the worst of a bad lot. When triggered, Jigsaw will delete one or more files every hour for 72 hours. If the ransom hasn’t been paid when the 72-hour window is up, all the files are deleted. 

Steps You Should Take

No business can afford to have their data encrypted, deleted, or worse. Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid it. Let’s take a look at 10 steps that users can take to avoid dealing with any of the above threats.

  1. Never click on unverified links
  2. Do not open email attachments unless they are from a trusted source
  3. Don’t download files from websites you don’t trust
  4. Do your best to avoid giving out personal data
  5. Don’t use USB or SD Card drives that you didn’t purchase yourself
  6. Keep your software patched and updated, including security software
  7. Utilize antivirus, firewall, and other security software
  8. Use a virtual private network on public Wi-Fi
  9. Backup your data onsite and in the cloud
  10. Use a mail server with spam protection and content filtering software

But, If You Do Get It…

The ten tips above will help you avoid getting ransomware, but all it takes is one time for the nightmare to happen. In the past 12 months, $380 million has been spent trying to buy back access to ransomware-infected files, computing systems, and servers. At MERIT Solutions, we are of the belief that there are no good reasons to buy back your data. In your haste to get control over your data, you may consider paying the extortion fee, but here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t:

  • The attack might be fake
  • You may not get all your data back
  • The hackers could leave malware behind 
  • You set a precedent that you will pay if attacked
  • You are reinforcing the notion that hacking and scamming is profitable. 

In fact, there are some legislatures in the US that are looking to make paying scammers’ ransom illegal. Since multiple municipalities have already gotten ransomware and paid the fine, more hackers are targeting them. The U.S. Treasury has already stated that they are firmly against payments to any ongoing extortion, including ransomware; and, in some cases, doing so may be breaking the law.

If you would like more information about ransomware, or if you are looking to get a comprehensive backup and recovery platform in place to stay proactive against a possible ransomware attack, call the IT professionals at MERIT Solutions today at (757) 420-5150.

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