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Understanding the Threat: How Does Ransomware Work?

October 7, 2019

Ransomware is costing businesses over 75 billion dollars per year. It's a serious problem that is impacting businesses and individuals more each year. 

But how does ransomware work?

The first step to protecting yourself or your business is understanding what it is. If you're interested in avoiding costly attacks keep reading to learn all about ransomware.

How Does Ransomware Work?

This isn't your parent's malware. Ransomware is a complex and efficient method of attacking a computer, or in some cases, a whole network of computers.

The short description of ransomware is an attacker locking you out of your files or your whole operating system and offering to unlock it for hundreds or thousands of dollars.

This form of malware is being increasingly used as it makes the attacker hard to catch and is relatively hard to counter.

Types of Attacks

There are two main ways that ransomware infects computers. The most common method is the attacker encrypting all your files. The other method is the attacker infecting your master boot record, locking you from your operating system completely.

If you're wondering how to avoid ransomware, there are several protective measures you can take for your personal computer or your business network.

One of the biggest reasons why ransomware is so efficient is that the encryption is basically impossible to crack, meaning you either pay or lose everything. Precautions are key.

To Pay or Not

If you're hit with ransomware, take a minute to think about it before jumping to fork over the payment they're demanding. It may be a smarter decision to not pay the ransom.

Many times the attacker will not decrypt the files or allow access to the computer after the ransom is paid. The attackers are hidden so they have very little incentive to hold true to their word.

If you have a backup of your files then it is a matter of time involved in restoring the system. If you don't have a backup, you should make one immediately, but if they caught you unaware then making the payment could be tempting.

What Next?

Hopefully, your business has an IT crisis management plan. If your business doesn't, or if you're an individual who was targeted, you're going to need to jump into action to ensure this is handled properly.

You need to embrace cloud backups immediately. Backing up personal files or a company-wide network to the cloud is the best way to stop the attackers from having any leverage over your data.

Installing email gateways will help prevent phishing emails from coming in and training users to be able to identify phishing scams will go a long way to preventing future attacks.

Don't Lose Your Data

How does ransomware work? It works by bullying you.

We don't have to tell you that your data is very important. It makes sense that shady individuals are holding that data for ransom. Using the above information to protect yourself or your network is the best way to keep it safe.

If this article has helped you understand this threat and you want to know more about protecting your computer systems, check out these great solutions.

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