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  • Writer's pictureTope Daisi

What is Ransomware?

Updated: Jun 12, 2023



Ransomware is software that encrypts or locks up a victim's computer files, demanding the payment of a ransom in exchange for the decryption key needed to unlock the files. Payment is usually in the form of cryptocurrency as it is difficult to track. Once installed, it can spread via email attachments, malicious links, and can also infect unsecured networks. Ransomware attacks can have serious consequences. Not only do these attacks cause significant financial harm, loss of critical data, and reputational damage to business and organisations, it can also compromise the integrity of their data and leave them vulnerable to further attacks. It is important to stay informed about ransomware threats, respond and develop policies that help prevent and respond to cyber-attacks.



How do I prevent Ransomware from infecting my system?


It is critical for businesses to take proactive measures to safeguard against ransomware attacks such as;


  • Keeping an up-to-date antivirus software

  • Regularly backing up important files to a secure location

  • Implement strong passwords policy

  • Developing an incident response plan that outlines the steps to be taken in the event of a ransomware attack can help to minimize the impact of the attack and facilitate a speedier recovery.

  • Cybersecurity awareness training for all employees

  • Never pay a ransom, report to law enforcement instead.




How do I protect myself from Ransomware?


There are several measures used to protect against ransomware including;


  • Ensuring all software used by the organisation is up to date to eliminate known vulnerabilities that can be exploited by ransomware.

  • Implement a multi-layered security approach. This should include firewall protections, antivirus and anti-malware software, and secure access controls for sensitive data.

  • Ensure that employees receive regular training on the dangers of ransomware and how to identify potential attacks. Employees who understand good security practices, such as strong passwords and data encryption, can help to reduce the risk of ransomware.

  • Backing up all critical data frequently and storing it securely so that in the event of a ransomware attack. Organisations can recover their data without paying the ransom.



What do I do if I get infected with Ransomware?


Once infected, removing ransomware from your system can be a challenging task, but it is not impossible. Here are some steps that you can take to remove ransomware from your device.


  • Disconnect from the Internet as soon as you realize that your system has been infected with ransomware.

  • Run your antivirus software and perform a complete system scan. Many antivirus programs can detect and remove ransomware.

  • You can also make use of Windows Defender to detect and remove ransomware.

  • Use a Rescue Disk to restore access. It is a bootable device that you can create on a USB drive or CD/DVD to boot your computer and remove the malware.

  • Seek the assistance of cybersecurity experts who specialize in handling ransomware attacks to ensure that all traces of the malware are eliminated.


Recent News


The cost of ransomware attacks on businesses is significant. In 2020, it was estimated that ransomware attacks cost businesses between $20 billion to $30 billion annually. This figure takes into account the costs associated with lost productivity, IT support, legal fees, and ransom payments.


According to recent reports, ransomware has become a significant threat to businesses, with the total cost of ransomware attacks estimated to be in the billions of euros. In Ireland, we are familiar with the infamous HSE attack, where a randsom demand was issued for $19 million in exchange for providing the decryption keys for the servers. Ultimately, they gave the keys to HSE without requiring payment. The ransomware attacks took the HSE months of work and approximately $80 million to decrypt, restore, and fortify their systems.



The costs of ransomware attacks are expected to increase in the coming years, as attackers become more sophisticated and target larger businesses and organizations.

In summary, protecting against ransomware requires a combination of technology, training, and good security practices. By taking these measures, business and organisation can better protect themselves against ransomware attacks and minimise the potential impact of such attacks.



 

VISO are here to help. If you have any questions about Cyber Security, talk to us, in confidence today.






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