What’s the Best Way to Deal with Ransomware?

It’s every business’s worst nightmare: a hacker infiltrates your system and holds your data hostage until you pay out a hefty sum.

Ransomware attacks dominate technology news headlines. In 2018 alone, these attacks were estimated to cost about $8 billion in damages. Analysts predict that by the end of 2019, there will be an attack every 14 seconds.

The numbers are terrifying. Even businesses that dedicate adequate resources to IT security may still be vulnerable to ransomware disasters. But no business is left completely powerless in combating would-be hackers and putting them in their place.

If you find yourself in a worst-case scenario, here’s what you should do:

Keep Calm and Don’t Pay Up

Hackers ask for money during a ransomware attack, promising that it’s the only way to regain control of your system.

This was the case when hackers took over the city of Baltimore. Water bills, parking tickets, and more than 1,000 pending home sales were all in limbo. The mayor showed signs of caving to the demands of 13 bitcoins, or $100,000. The sum would be far less than a complete shutdown would cost, but the long-term message would be that ransomware attacks are a viable business.

You might be tempted to pay up and solve the problem, but don’t give the hacker any money. Paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee you’ll get your system back, plus it only shows hackers that ransomware attacks work.

What Type of Attack are You Under?

What type of ransomware do you have?

There are different types of ransomware attacks. Some are screen-locking only, which is a milder attack that can usually be solved easily. Encrypting ransomware is worse, as this is the type that affects your computer’s files.

If you can navigate your system and access your files, then the ransomware threat is likely fake. Knowing the type of attack will help you to determine which steps to take next.

Report the Incident to Police

Ransomware attacks shouldn’t be swept under the rug, but many go unreported. Make sure you contact law enforcement to let them know of the attack so they can investigate and, ideally, prevent attacks from happening to others.

Use Anti-Malware Software to Remove the Attack

Depending on the type of malware infecting your system, an anti-malware software may be able to remove it. You may also need decryption tools if the attack has altered your files. Outside consulting agencies may be your best resource in a malware attack if you lack internal expertise.

Educate Your Organization on Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks can be costly

The best defense against ransomware attacks and other viruses is prevention. Organizations shouldn’t feel immune to these attacks, as they can happen to any industry at any scale.

A strong course of action begins with educating your employees on ransomware attacks, what they look like, how they work, and most importantly, how to respond. The more informed they are, the more they can empower your organization against would-be hackers so that every day can be business as usual.

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