Ransomware is currently the biggest crime operation being operated in the cyber world today. It’s a multi-million dollar scheme, and the criminals are migrating rapidly towards these from their old risks. The government is also aware and wants to protect you from these. But would you count on them? I would suggest, don’t. You are to a large extent on your own on this.
So how do they do it? Hackers send ransomware to encrypt the whole of your computer or some necessary files, and then they demand a ransom to release them. You have your options. Either pay them what they demand or keep and back up and deny any payment. But the latter will still cost you a lot. You can have damaged machines and even your backups. But another option is to be cautious.
Here are the ways you can protect yourself against any such attack.
1. Back things up, as simple as that
Hackers target those who can’t afford to lose the access to their data for the time required to get the access back. So the first thing to do is to keep everything backed up. Back everything up on a daily basis. You have everything with you, and you aren’t at their mercy if they don’t let you access those data. You have a copy.
The best place to back your files up would be the cloud. There are cases where companies lost access to years old data but didn’t have to pay any ransom as they hired cloud backup services. Some of the hackers even try to encrypt your backing up system and thus it’s important to utilise cloud backup or have an offline backup. It’s important to back your data up to a place that is in no connection with your machines.
2. Strictly avoid suspicious emails and links
So how these hackers attack a large scale? They do it by sending phishing emails or with malicious content or making you click a link after which the virus easily crawls all your system. Another way is the malvertising. Some hackers hack the advertising networks and would send you the malware through the websites you trust.
So what you should do? For avoiding malvertising, you can use AdBlocks in your browser. For phishing attacks, you need to be careful and avoid every suspicious email or link. Right click and scan all your emails before reading them. It may take some training and practice, but you’ll eventually have a healthy and safe habit.
3.Patching and Blocking
Now you cannot totally get rid of these attacks by being aware. They attack from a variety of sources, and some of them would be your trusted websites. You will open some of the attachments or click some of the links. To combat the situation, you can hire some of the security technologies available in the market. One such product is X.
Even then, no technology can be totally flawless. What you can rather do is patch all the software security holes and stop wicked software from infected the system using that software. On the Internet, they use the vulnerabilities in your third party plugins, Java and Flash. The solution would be to keep everything up to date.
Other methods are to whitelist software to run on you system and limit the permissions on your system to deny installation of anything without the admin password. Do not let your computer install anything that isn’t approved for use on that system. You can also go for redundant servers rather than having everything on a single server.
4. Stop networking when infected
As soon as you get attacked by ransomware, immediately stop all your network services. This way you can prevent it from spreading. Disconnect your machine from WiFi Bluetooth or anything that can let it spread.
The next step would be to identify the ransomware. For known kinds, you can use decrypters.
Ransomware can be severe as they can bring down all your services to a halt. If you don’t have a proper backup, the only option would be to fulfil their demands. So as it’s said, Prevention is better than Cure. Go for prevention and not for a cure.