Ransomware Attacks: don’t be a hostage!

Before we discuss solutions, what is ransomware?

ran·som·ware

(răn′səm-wâr′)

n.

Malware that disables the normal operation of a computer until money or other ransom is paid to the person or organization responsible for the malware.

When it comes to real estate, a lot of cloud computing is involved for accounting. This easily makes this industry a valuable prey to those who work the malware circuit.

Ransomware attacks are a frequent occurrence nowadays, recurrently making the headlines. The attacks themselves are becoming more complex and the attackers continue to earn large profits from individual, companies or public agencies. The FBI reported $18 million in losses in 2015.

There are a few security measures that you need to implement to avoid becoming a victim.

First of all, how does the malware get into your system?

The deployment methods are many –

  • clicking a malicious link
  • downloading deceptive attachments that contain executable files
  • visiting unsecured websites

Once the malware had been strategically stationed in your system you will be prohibited to access your computer, network, certain segments, or have inaccessibility to files that you were authorised to, until the ransom has been paid.

The two common families of malware

It goes without saying that there are many types of ransomware. However the two most common families are Locker Ransomware and Crypto Ransomware. The former disables access without altering them but can be removed with an antivirus. The latter searches for files of interest and uses encryptions, providing the description key only after the ransom has been released.

Imagine the difficulty this could put ‘hostages’ into, not to mention the security risk. Because of the high costs and operational setbacks associated with losing this data, people end of paying.

Payment mode used by captors

The payment is almost always demanded in bitcoins. Bitcoins were originally created as a peer-to-peer (P2P) electronic cash system. This is a completely digital and encrypted currency.

No guarantees

However, the victim always ran the risk of having no guarantee that the files would be restored or decrypted. Additionally, even if the attackers do hold up their end of the deal, payments being made act as incentives to strike again with confidence. This could impact finances heavily, lead to loss of crucial data, disrupt operations and deliveries, and damage the reputation of the company.

Preventive measures

Prevention is always better than cure. You don’t have to wait to get bitten before you take safety steps. Ransomware is a growing threat that is getting more powerful as attackers find newer and surer ways to penetrate.

  • Maintain a close watch on malware capabilities.
  • Frequently and consistently backup data.
  • Have a disaster recovery plan for business continuity.
  • Constantly test and update that strategy of action for effectiveness and relevance
  • Keep your antivirus and OS up to date

When your cyber routines are clean, smart and proactive, your defence against such attacks is much more established and in-depth, as opposed to running helter-skelter if they do come!

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