Attacks ransomware: your computer may be unprotected.
After all, what is a ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) used by criminals to extort money. It stores data for redemption using encryption or blocking users on the device.
Primarily, this article teaches everything there is to know about ransomware prevention. We explore the different ways to protect your computer and data from ransomware attacks.
In this article, we will also see:
- How to prevent ransomware
- What to do if you face a ransomware attack
- Ransomware removal
- Notorious 2018 ransomware attacks
- How to protect your computer from ransomware
Preventing ransomware attacks
First of all, in this section we provide tips on how to prevent ransomware attacks, from never clicking on unverified links, to avoid using unknown USBs. Read on to learn more about ransomware prevention.
In principle, avoid clicking on links in spam emails or on unknown sites. However, downloads initiated when you click on malicious links is a way for your computer to be infected.
When the ransomware is on your computer, it will encrypt your data or block your operating system.
As soon as the ransomware has something to maintain like “hostage“, It will require a ransom before you can recover your data.
Pay those ransoms it may seem like the simplest solution, right?
However, this is exactly what the attacker wants you to do.
In fact, it is important to keep in mind that paying for these redemptions does not guarantee that you will gain access to your device or your data again.
Avoid Ransomware: do not open attachments from untrusted emails
Another way that ransomware can access your computer is through an email attachment.
First of all, don't open email attachments from senders you don't trust. As well as check who the email is from and confirm that the email address is correct. Similarly, be sure to evaluate whether an attachment looks genuine before opening it. If you’re not sure, contact the person you think sent it and check again.
Never open attachments that ask you to enable macros to view them. Since, if the attachment is infected, opening it will run the malicious macro, giving malware control over your computer.
Download only from trusted sites
To reduce the risk of downloading ransomware, do not download software or media files from unknown sites, for example.
Also, look for trusted and verified sites if you want to download something, as the most reputable sites will have trusted markers that you can recognize. That way, just look in the search bar to see if the site uses 'https' instead of 'http'. A shield or block symbol may also appear in the address bar to verify that the site is secure.
If you are downloading something to your phone, try to download it from trusted sources.
For example: on Android phones, try using the Google Play Store to download your apps, for iPhone users use App Store.
Avoid providing personal data
First, if you receive a call, text or email from an untrusted source requesting personal information, do not provide it.
Cybercriminals planning a ransomware attack can try to obtain personal data before an attack. They may use this information in phishing emails for the purpose of specifically targeting you.
Therefore, the goal is to convince you to open an infected attachment or link. So don't let the authors get hold of data that makes your trap more convincing.
If, unexpectedly, you are contacted by a company requesting information, ignore the request and contact the company independently to verify that it is genuine
Use email server content scanning and filtering
First, using content scanning and filtering on mail servers is a smart way to prevent ransomware.
After all, this software reduces the likelihood that a spam email containing malware-infected attachments or links will reach your inbox.
Never use unknown USB's
Without a doubt, never insert USBs or other removal storage devices into your computer if you don't know where they came from. Since cyber criminals may have infected your device with ransomware and left it in a public space to entice you to use it.
Keep your software and operating system up to date
Keeping your software and operating system up to date will help protect you from malware. In this sense, when you perform an update, you guarantee the benefits of the latest security patches, making it difficult for cyber criminals to exploit software vulnerabilities.
Use a VPN when using public Wi-Fi
Being cautious with public Wi-Fi, in principle, is a sensible measure of protection against ransomware.
In summary, when you use public Wi-Fi, your computer system is more vulnerable to attack. However, to stay protected, avoid using public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions or use a secure VPN.
Use security software
As cybercrime becomes more widespread, there is no doubt that protection against ransomware it has never been more crucial. Protect your computer from ransomware with a comprehensive Internet security solution, such as FortiClient Endpoint.
In short, when downloading or transmitting, the endpoint blocks infected files, as well as preventing ransomware from infecting your computer in order to keep cybercriminals at bay.
Keep security software up to date
So, to benefit from the highest level of protection that Internet security software has to offer, keep it up to date. Each update will include the latest security patches and will maximize the prevention of ransomware.
Knife backup of your data
If you face a ransomware attack, your data will remain safe if it is backed up.
Make sure to keep everything copied to an external hard drive. On the other hand, be sure to disconnect it from your computer when it is not in use. If the hard drive is connected when you are the victim of a ransomware attack, that data will also be encrypted.
Another important point, cloud storage solutions allow you to revert to previous versions of your files. Therefore, if they are encrypted by ransomware, you can return to an unencrypted version via cloud storage.
How to respond to ransomware attacks
Now you know how to prevent ransomware, but what if you have already become a victim of a ransomware attack?
In the case of a ransomware attack, it is important to know what to do. Here are some simple steps to take to minimize the damage.
Isolate your computer
If you face a ransomware attack, the first thing to do is to disconnect from any network and the Internet. This procedure isolates the computer and minimizes the chance that the ransomware infection will spread to other computers.
Never pay the ransom
Do not pay any ransom required by cybercriminals who carry out the attack on the ransomware.
As a hostage situation in real life, it is best not to negotiate with cybercriminals. Paying the ransom will not guarantee the return of your data - after all these people have already manipulated your trust.
Giving and paying also encourages this type of crime. The more people pay the ransoms, the more popular ransomware attacks become.
Start ransomware removal
To rid your computer of ransomware, follow our simple ransomware removal steps in the section below.
Ransomware removal guide
Follow the ransomware removal steps below to recover from a ransomware attack.
Step 1: Disconnect from the Internet
First, disconnect from the Internet to prevent the ransomware from spreading to other devices.
Step 2: Run a scan using Internet security software
Use the Internet security software that you have installed to perform a scan. This will help to identify any threats. If it detects a risky file, it can be removed or quarantined.
Step 3: Use the ransomware decryption tool
If your computer is infected with encryption ransomware, you will need to use a ransomware decoder to decrypt your files and data in order to be able to access them again.
Sophos is continually researching the latest forms of ransomware, so you can create ransomware decoders and then fight each new threat.
Step 4: Restore files from backup
If you backed up your data externally or to cloud storage, restore a clean backup of all your files on your computer. This allows you to revert to a version of the malware-free software.
If you don't have a backup, cleaning your computer and recovering your files will be much more difficult. To prevent this from happening, we recommend doing backup regularly from your data . If you are prone to forget, take advantage of automatic cloud backup or set up calendar reminders yourself.
History of ransomware attacks
This article gave ransomware prevention tips, discussed how to deal with a ransomware attack, and explained an easy ransomware removal process.
Now, let's explore three recent examples of ransomware. Since understanding how the ransomware spread earlier will help us understand why the protection against ransomware it is so important.
A ransomware attack hit Wolverine Solutions Group (a healthcare provider) in September 2018. The malware encrypted many of the company's files, leaving workers unable to access them.
Fortunately, forensic specialists were able to work to decrypt and restore them on October 3. However, as a result of the attack, unfortunately a lot of patient data has been compromised.
Names, addresses, medical data and other personal information may have fallen into the hands of the cybercriminals who carried out the attack.
Ryuk is a ransomware attack that started in August 2018. It differed from other attacks in the way it was able to encrypt network drives.
As a result, hackers were able to block the Windows System Restore option, leaving users unable to recover from the attack if they did not have external data backup.
GandCrab is a destructive ransomware attack that occurred in January 2018. It had many versions and became famous as the infection spread rapidly.
The police worked closely with Internet security providers to produce a ransomware decoder to combat the effects of this attack.