The internet is full of risks, but none of them are more concerning for individuals working from home than ransomware attacks. Ransomware issues are the worst type of cyber attack you can encounter. When working from home, they can encrypt and damage all the files on your computer, preventing you from being able to do your job or even use your computer system.
Keep reading to get a comprehensive view of ransomware including what ransomware is, ransomware prevention tips, and IT solutions that are offered right here in Little Rock if you become a victim of it.
What Is Ransomware?
If you see a message that reads something along the lines of:
“!!!! IMPORTANT INFORMATION !!!! Your files are now encrypted with SFA-1095 and GEB-901 ciphers.”
Or, you could get a readme.txt saying, “Your files are inaccessible due to being placed in encrypted containers; you can pay $1000 in bitcoin by [insert date] to regain access to them or they will be lost to you forever.” Then, you have fallen victim to ransomware.
Ransomware is rather simple: It gets secretly installed on your computer, then launches an attack which corrupts or encrypts files making them impossible to access. When you try to access your system, a ransom demand appears. The ransom demands payment in exchange for the keys or codes you require to regain control of your files and system.
Ransom payments will vary. An individual might receive a ransom for $300, whilst small business could be faced with a ransom exceeding $10,000. In a 2015 report, losses of up to $18 million due to ransomware issues had been reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center in the previous 14 months.
How Does Ransomware Work?
Ransomware is usually sent within an email. These emails generally look official to minimize any suspicion of a threat. Once the email is opened, there are often instructions to download an attachment that looks legitimate to the individual or organization sending the email. This attachment may take the form of a Microsoft Word document, but could also be a scan, image, or picture.
Once the attachment is opened, it will appear nonsensical. This is intentional on part of the malicious attack. A prompt will ask the user to enable Macros, which a normal document would perform automatically, to restore the document’s contents. Upon clicking this prompt, a cascade of malicious script will install the ransomware on your computer as part of the attack.
Ransomware can lock or corrupt your files, including all the files you need to work from home. It can also distort the computer’s code making your computer completely unusable.
The final part is the appearance of a ransom note. The ransom is often demanded in Bitcoin currency and can extend into tens of thousands of dollars. The ransom is accompanied by a threat that payment must be received in order to get the private key that decrypts the affected files and restore the computer’s function.
In 2017, the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK suffered one of the biggest data breaches in history. The ransomware stole information from almost 1 billion accounts. The attack affected hospitals and GP surgeries, and cost the NHS close to £100 million once both IT costs and the impact of lost output was accounted for.
Ransomware, therefore, represents a significant, yet avoidable, cost to you and businesses around the world.
There are numerous options you can take in ransomware prevention to protect yourself when working from home. Below you will find just a few tips to keep ransomware at bay when working remotely:
Being aware of ransomware is the most basic security measure you can take in ransomware prevention. When you know what ransomware is and how ransomware issues arise, then you are more suspicious of opening random attachments and files in emails and less likely to do so.
Using a spam filter is counterintuitive with the millions of malignant emails being sent out by cybercriminals. But do you know how many cyber attacks are actually prevented from using one? With an effective spam filter that is regularly updated, 99% of malicious ransomware-containing emails can be prevented from ever getting to your desktop.
Keep Anti-Ransomware Software Up-to-Date
It is important to regularly update the software on your network. The same is true for your anti-malware intrusion detection and prevention system (IDPS). This system is constantly on the watch for any malicious behavior. If spotted, IDPS immediately blocks the attack. It’s crucial to keep this up-to-date in order to keep up with the ever-evolving forms of ransomware.
Every device contains an extension that prevents ads from popping up. Ads can present a long-lasting malicious threat when they are not blocked, so make sure the ad extension on your computer is enabled.
Configure Desktop Extensions
It’s essential not to double-click on any files that have an .exe extension. Unfortunately, Windows is programmed to hide file extensions, but if you make sure extensions are always shown then you can prevent this problem from occurring.
IT Services in Little Rock
Now that you are aware of a few ways to manage ransomware issues while working from home, call Scale Technology to get further support in ransomware prevention. This will protect not only your computer, but all the work and business you do from home.
For help with IT solutions in Little Rock, request a consultation with Scale Technology or call us now on 501-222-8969.