Most of the time, nothing goes wrong. But sometimes it does.
Clicking on dangerous links is the leading contributor of ransomware attacks. Cyber bad guys spend time designing emails and web pages that encourage people to click on dangerous links. In a worst case scenario, not only is your computer infected, but nearby computers are also infected. Once inside, the bad guys take control of your computer and its data and hold the organization hostage until demands for payoff are met.
What exactly does ransomware do?
Ransomware is a type of malware designed to lock the files on a computer by “scrambling” them. You can no longer access the files until a sum of money is paid for the perpetrator to “unscramble” them. However, it is important to know that there is no guarantee the files will be recovered once the ransom is paid. And the cost can range anywhere from a few hundred to a few hundred thousand dollars. Some forms of ransomware also steal your data and threaten to disclose or auction the data unless you pay.
How can I limit the risk of a ransomware infection?
· Use caution when clicking. Avoid clicking on links that look suspicious. If the name is misspelled or doesn’t look quite right, it may indicate that the link is taking you to a different place. In addition, ‘hovering’ over a link with your mouse will show you the real destination. (Need a refresher? Check out our Tip on spotting dangerous links.)
· Keep your files in safe locations. Ask your IT staff where they want you to save your files. By keeping your files in a safe location, the files can be restored if a ransomware infects your computer.
· Make your IT staff’s job easy. Your local IT staff has a lot of tools to ensure that your computer is secure. Those tools are essential to stopping ransomware. Keeping the tools installed on your computer protects your data; and makes the IT staff’s job much easier.
What if ransomware happens anyway?
· Avoid paying any ransom. Paying the ransom makes it easier for these types of cybercrimes to continue. The growing epidemic can be stopped dead in its tracks if no one ever pays. Afterall, there is no guarantee that your systems or files will be restored if you give in and pay the ransom.
· Restore your files from a backup. If the files on the affected computer are regularly backed up and routinely tested, then you should be able to restore your files from the backup.
· Call your local IT support. If your judiciary computer is attacked, immediately disconnect it from the network and call your local IT help desk. They can restore your files and clean up the infection.
If you have any additional questions about protecting yourself from ransomware, contact your Circuit IT Security, local IT staff, or ITSO for more information.
Government Technology: The Five Phishing Tactics Used in Ransomware (Contributed)
JNet: JASIRC Executive Summary: Petya/NotPetya Ransomware Cyber Attacks
CRN: The 10 Biggest Ransomware Attacks of 2019
Government Technology: Hit with a Ransomware Attack? Don’t Pay the Hackers
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency: Security Tip – Protecting Against Ransomware