As the news broke that a Kansas braille transcription institute may lose years of files to a ransom virus, many organizations wondered if they too could fall victim to such an incident. Will their antivirus protect them against ransomware? If files are backed up, are they safe from attack?
Here’s how ransomware works. A user downloads the virus, either through e-mail or a website, and is confronted with a page that threatens some action unless the user pays up. Paying the fee often changes nothing, leaving businesses to seek professional help to resume use of their own systems.
Regularly updating software and antivirus programs, a business can prevent such an attack. An active firewall is also important to protect both individual systems and servers. Encrypting each desktop and laptop used by your business can also help protect against intrusion. In addition to this protection, businesses should also work hard to educate all employees on the importance of being careful when clicking on links and opening e-mail attachments.
If, despite your best efforts, you still find yourself being held hostage by malware, it’s important you don’t pay the fee. Not only is this usually ineffective, you’ll be giving your credit card information to someone who has already engaged in criminal activity.
In the event of an infection, you should disconnect the PC from network connectivity and reboot it in safe mode if possible. Run any antivirus protection software you have to try to remove the threat. If you can determine the exact type of ransomware, often you can find removal instructions specific to that ransomware on sites like Symantec.
It’s more important than ever that businesses keep all systems as updated as possible. If an attack does happen, however, save the money you’d spend on paying a ransom and pay an IT professional to look at your system. You’ll potentially prevent further damage and have your systems up and running quickly.