The Threat of Ransomware


Ransomware is a growing threat to organisations in the UK. Businesses should be aware and take caution to avoid infection.

With the recent success of high-profile Ransomware payouts, the virus is becoming an increasingly popular method for malicious users to blackmail businesses into handing over hard-earned money.

Ransomware is a type of malware that restricts access to a system and demands that the user pay a ransom for restrictions to be lifted. A common application of Ransomware is an infection that encrypts files on a system’s hard drive, near impossible to decrypt without the key which the operator will provide when the ransom is paid (you hope!).

Usually, a Trojan will get into your systems to open the door ajar andincrease the chances of infectiion. A Trojan is a malicious program that poses as legitimate software, convincing the user to install it and/or give it access to the system

After the Trojan comes the Payload which typically takes the form of a ‘Scareware’ program. Payloads may display a fake warning purportedly by an entity such as a law enforcement agency, falsely claiming that the system has been used for illegal activities and it will then proceed to seize the system.

There are a number of ways to deter or negate this serious threat, some more effective or important than others.

The most effective method of perparing for Ransomware is simply to have regular backups in place of any potential victim systems. If your systems were to become locked or encrypted, you could simply restore a backup or rollback your system to an earlier state before the infection; completely negating any threat.

Also, try to use caution and common sense; never open suspicious or unknown e-mails/attachments and never download any software from unknown or un-trusted sources. These two ‘routes’ are the most likely paths to infection of your systems. Fraudulent emails and web sites can be really convincing so you have to really be diligent here.

The final preventetive step is fairly obvious; keep your anti-virus and anti-malware software installed and up-to-date. Anti-virus and anti-malware software will catch any detectable suspicious files or software in your system, greatly increasing the chance of catching the virus before it can do any damage. Keep an eye on it and check updates yourself manually. Some nasties can disable updates or the AV programs themselves and you would never know unless you check.

If you keep all of this information in mind and follow the recommended procedures to deter Ransomware, you’ll likely have nothing to worry about and won’t face the problem of paying a ransom any time soon!

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