If you were locked out of your computer system, how much would you pay to get back in? Hackers are increasingly finding out that many companies are willing to pay hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars per machine, resulting in over $24 million in ransom payments last year alone. Ransomware attacks are on the rise, exploiting security holes and sending companies scrambling to avoid become a victim in this malicious attack.
4 Ways to Avoid a Ransomware Attack
- Security Patches – Operating systems and other software may have security holes that hackers exploit to gain access to your system. It’s essential to stay on top of all security patches that are released by the manufacturer to fill these gaps. You should also be sure your anti-virus software is active and updated regularly, as they can detect threats before they spread.
- Click Cautiously – Phishing emails and malicious ads are another popular way to gain access to your system, but these can often be thwarted with careful observation. Train employees to look for suspicious links before clicking on any ads or hyperlinks, and to never download an attachment without first scanning it. These simple steps can dramatically reduce your risk of being victimized.
- Back Up Your Data – Ransomware attacks go after two valuable assets: your data and your time. Backing up your data frequently protects it so you can restore your system without paying off the criminals behind the attack. Experts recommend using cloud storage or an offline device for your backed up data, as any machines connected to your network are vulnerable for an attack.
- Don’t Pay the Criminals – Though it may seem easier to just pay the ransom to get your system back quickly, many times this is the worst choice you could make. Paying the criminals funds them to continue their attacks, as well as pegs you as an easy target, making it more likely for you to be attacked again. Instead, you should immediately disconnect your computer from the network and reset it to factory settings. Only after installing security patches should you then restore your data from your backed up copies.
Cybercrimes, particularly ransomware attacks, are on the rise, affecting businesses of every size. With a few precautions, you can limit your risk if you are targeted for one of these attacks.