Imagine this scenario: the unthinkable has happened and you’ve been hit by a ransomware attack. It can be scary and mess with your data and files. Ransomware is one of the fastest-growing types of attacks on both personal devices and across various industries (especially for retailers). No one wants to compromise their data or lose access to their OS/files. That’s why it is especially crucial to start guarding yourself against potential attacks and know how to recover if you’re affected. Getting infected with a ransomware attack can seem tragic and be disheartening, but understanding the nature of the threat, how to recover, and what to do are all crucial to ensuring you keep yourself safe. Here’s a short guide to ransomware and how to recover from its devastating attacks.
A Definition of Ransomware
Ransomware is easily defined but is also quite intricate in the way it attacks its victims. It’s designed in a way that’s conducive to spreading rapidly and spreading as far as it can. Different types of ransomware use different encryption methods, but more modern ransomware relies on a hybrid encryption style and/or uses a type of encryption known as asymmetric encryption. This is where it uses a pair of keys to encrypt and decrypt the files. There’s a public key that encrypts the files and a private key possessed by the attacker that decrypts them. The attacker usually demands a large amount of money (usually as cryptocurrency) for access to the decryption key. Decrypting files without the key is difficult and, in some cases, simply can’t be done. Paying the ransom should result in a release of the decryption key, but sometimes attackers will merely take the money and run. Unfortunately, in this scenario, the absence of backups can lead to permanent data loss.
Understand How It Works
A ransomware attack usually starts with a successful phishing attempt. Ransomware usually infects a victim’s computer through an executable file, typically downloaded through email. Once it installs itself, it lets attackers know it found a victim. The ransomware proceeds to encrypt your files. Once it does, you lose access and the ransom note appears to demand payment. At that point, you can decide to pay or try to manually restore your system from backups (a task that is not always as simple as it sounds). If you do pay the ransom, what’s supposed to happen is the attacker releases a decryption key so you can re-access your files. But as we mentioned before, that usually doesn’t happen. At that point, the attacker has the funds and you’re left with the headache of rebuilding everything from backups and a little bit of luck.
The best place to start with removing ransomware is preventing you from getting onto your computer in the first place. To accomplish this, you’ll need a robust maximum security/antivirus sweet that can handle an array of threats, isolate different types of malware, and has a proven track record of keeping its users safe. The most beneficial and useful programs will have some type of ransomware removal tools that can help you keep this type of malware off your computer. It may be a simple solution to the problem, but think of it as one of the most valuable weapons in your arsenal in the battle against ransomware.
Be Proactive About Backups
One of the most effective methods for recovering from a ransomware attack is to prevent it in the first place. This comes through a variety of means, including making regular backups. Backups are perhaps the most important thing here. Start with automating your backup process. Automatic backups make it much easier to recover in the event of an attack while minimizing your data loss. Additionally, you should use regular backups as well. Back up files every day to multiple drives, whether it’s CD/DVD, USB, a NAS, or another hard drive. but making the backups isn’t enough. Your me to be checking them regularly to ensure their integrity and make sure that they’re not corrupted. After, you cannot bring your system back up via corrupted files.
Prevent It In The Future
Do regular checkups with your antivirus software and watch out for dangerous sites or any site looking to suspiciously obtain personal information. Make sure you’re using/generating secure passwords and keeping your OS—along with all of your programs—completely up to date at all times
Use encryption on any files you’re transferring through the Internet and make sure you have a secure connection. You can also use a sandbox – a special environment where you can execute suspicious programs to see how they might affect a hypothetical virtual machine – to check out suspicious files at any time. If you do become the victim of a ransomware attack, don’t panic. The FBI recommends you don’t pay the ransom and that you do report the attack. But taking appropriate safety precautions should eliminate the problem at its core, keeping you safe while you live, work, and play online.