Ransomware 101

by Sarah Bryson

November 19, 2019

Yesterday, newly minted 16-year olds in Louisiana could not celebrate this milestone of a joy ride down Johnston Street. They were unable to get their license because the state of Louisiana’s Office of Motor Vehicles was the target of a Ransomware attack.

Ransomware is a type of malware that infects, locks or takes control of a system and demands money for it to be unlocked. This malware can have a disastrous effect on businesses, leaving them unable to work for days or even weeks. RADER utilizes many tools to protect our clients from Ransomware attacks and has a state-of-the-art security team to prevent and respond to these types of attacks. However, the average user or business may not have these same resources but is just as vulnerable to the same threats. To better protect yourself, there are essential steps small businesses and single users can take to protect themselves from an attack.

Monitor your emails

The most common place for Ransomware to enter a machine is through an email from a malicious download. Keeping a close eye on emails and being wary of links or information requests from unknown senders is vital in protecting against a Ransomware attack. Further, enabling Advanced Threat Protection (or similar software) to filter through emails and identify threatening attachments can add another layer of protection to an account.

Update Regularly

Operating System and software updates usually contain vulnerability patches that can better protect your computer from new and improved Ransomware on the market. They will also lock up any back doors that may currently be being exploited by attackers. Enabling automatic updates will ensure your computer is up to date. It may be inconvenient at times, but it is a small price compared to a Ransomware attack.  

Back up Separately and Often

In the case of a Ransomware attack, having backups available is the difference in the ability to function or not. Frequent, separate, backups of your machines are the easiest way to mitigate the effects of a Ransomware attack. By keeping the backups separate from the originals, it ensures that they will also be separate from any infection that creeps onto your machine. Secure backups give you the confidence and peace of mind to know that even if you become the victim of a Ransomware attack you, and your business is protected.  

This risk of one day attempting to turn on your computer only to realize that none of your documents, software, and information are available and will only become accessible again by paying a large sum of money is a terrifying thought. Despite this, there are many ways to protect yourself on the front end that will not only prevent attacks but minimize the scope of a Ransomware attack to you in the future.

About RADER - IT Security. Service. Solutions

RADER is a local IT Company based out of Lafayette, LA, servicing companies throughout the United States. Find out more about us or how we can seamlessly manage and integrate all of your technological needs.