What is Ransomware? – And how can I protect against it?
After an increasing number of high profile cases including that against the NHS in the UK more people are asking the question, ‘What is Ransomware?’. And most importantly, ‘How can I protect myself and business from it?’.
Simply put Ransomware is; a type of malware (malicious software) that prevents a user from accessing their system or files, this is commonly done by encrypting data (converting information into a code) and holding the user to ransom by asking for funds to unencrypt their data and therefore providing access to their files once more.
Ransoms can range from anywhere a few hundred pounds to several thousands, as you may have seen from the NHS attacks in May 2017 they were only asking for $300 per computer. Fortinet, a US based cyber security company, suggest ransoms are becoming less (in the region of £50-£200) to make them more like a parking ticket, where the victim simply pays the amount to avoid the hassle.
So, how can you protect yourself and your business against ransomware?
As with any cyber security policy or action there is no ‘silver bullet’ which will guarantee your safety, however there are some simple actions you can take to reduce the chances of an attack, such as;
Be vigilant with your emails, 33% of attacks in the UK come from users opening malicious emails. Request a free copy of our ‘Email – Is It Safe?’ poster for a step-by-step guide and what you should be asking yourself to check if an email is safe.
Back-up your files, this is a massive one and still hugely underutilised. By having copies of your file elsewhere the impact on files being encrypted is minimal, particularly if you back-up daily the worst case is you lose a few hours of data. Critical here is that you back-up to a server not directly linked to your original data otherwise the infection could reach your back-up files too.
Update your system and software, please ensure you update as soon as a program offers a new update. You can set Windows to automatically update to the latest versions, this prevents hackers using potential vulnerabilities in outdated software.
These are just a few areas to get you thinking about how to prevent a ransomware attack, please call us if you have further concerns or need more advice on how to stay cyber safe.
Please request a copy of our Free ‘Email – Is It Safe?’ A2 printed poster for your office.