How to Recover From a Ransomware Attack

When Ransomware Attacks

Have your computer systems been held hostage? Read on to learn everything that you need to know about recovering from a ransomware attack.

For those who are unaware, the cybercrime industry is projected to be worth well over $10 trillion by 2025. A large portion of this value is also expected to come from ransomware attacks.

These are essentially cyber attacks that encrypt sensitive information and threaten to delete it if a certain payment is not made. In case you ever find yourself in this situation, it’s imperative to understand how to recover from a ransomware attack.

Let’s explore everything that you should keep in mind.

How Do Ransomware Attacks Work?

As previously mentioned, this type of cyber attack aims to prevent users from accessing certain data, essentially holding it for ransom. The hacker then demands a certain payment, often in the form of cryptocurrency so that they can minimize the chances of being tracked.

In the event that the ransom is not paid, one of two scenarios typically occurs:

  • The hacker decides to leave the data encrypted indefinitely, preventing you from accessing it
  • The hacker deletes the data entirely

As you can tell, both of these scenarios could be potentially crippling for your business and must be avoided at all costs.

When it comes to infection, this type of malware often makes its way into a machine similar to any other computer virus. Downloading suspicious email attachments, visiting sketchy websites, and leaving your device unsecured are all risk factors that need to be taken into consideration.

Who Is Most at Risk?

Many people make the mistake of believing that only large businesses are at risk of a ransomware attack. The truth is, however, that hackers often target small and medium-sized businesses, as well.

This is simply due to the fact that companies with smaller budgets are less likely to always be equipped with the most contemporary software and hardware. So, there may be security exploits that hackers can take advantage of that they wouldn’t find at a large organization.

Businesses within certain industries are also inherently more at risk of this type of attack. Those that work in the healthcare space, for example, are responsible for storing highly valuable patient information.

So, it’s in the best interest of a hacker to target the type of company that would be most likely to pay for access to their own data.

After I Have Been Attacked, What Should I Do?

Dealing with a ransomware attack is often a highly stressful process. One day, you may turn on your device only to find that you can no longer access any of your files.

Ransomware often displays a message for the victim to read that explains the situation to them. This typically says something along the lines of “Your data has been compromised. Please make a Bitcoin payment to (this address) or risk permanent deletion.”

If you’ve been infected, however, it’s essential that you don’t panic. Listed below are the steps you should follow.

Isolation

The first move that you make should involve isolating the affected device from any others. This means disconnecting it from your network, removing external devices, etc.

Ransomware is known to be highly virulent, meaning that it can easily spread from one device to another. In the event that you leave it connected to your network, you can run the risk of it spreading to every possible device within a short period of time.

Identification

There are thousands of different hackers across the globe who will use different types of ransomware. In order to efficiently deal with the situation, you’ll need to determine what strain you have been affected by.

You can make this conclusion by paying attention to what type of message you receive, how they demand payment, and whether or not they threaten to delete your data.

As we went over previously, some hackers will leave your information encrypted indefinitely, so this is an important distinction to make.

Report to the FBI

The FBI recommends that you immediately report this type of attack. They also implore victims to avoid paying the ransom at all costs.

Those who choose to pay will only be facilitating further attacks by the same party. Additionally, there’s no guarantee that the hacker will actually provide you with access to your data.

Determine Your Course of Action

This is where things get a bit tougher. Since paying the ransom isn’t a viable option, you’re left with two choices:

  • Attempt to remove the malware from your device
  • Wipe everything and start fresh

It’s not always possible for a business to remove this virus from their devices. These attacks are highly sophisticated, and smaller companies may simply not have the resources to handle them.

Although often inconvenient, reinstalling everything from scratch is often the best option to take. For those who keep frequent backups of all their key information, there shouldn’t be a significant lapse in performance.

If your business does not frequently back up its data, however, you may find yourself in a situation that is potentially catastrophic. In preparation for a scenario like this, begin archiving your sensitive data immediately.

This will help ensure you are able to navigate a ransomware attack as fluidly as possible.

Recovering From a Ransomware Attack Might Seem Impossible

The above info, though, will help you handle this issue seamlessly. This will give you the best possible chance of maintaining access to all of your data if you experience a ransomware attack in the future.

Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Feel free to get in touch with us today and see how we can help.

 

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