Ransomware is a type of attack done on a computer to “lock” files and folders making them un-viewable to anyone who does not have the correct key to unlock them.  Attackers use ransomware as a way to make money by offering to unlock user files for a fee.  Sometimes the fee is payed, and the files are unlocked, but at least as often the files are not unlocked, even after the payment is made.  There are several types of attacks that look like ransomware varying in severity.  Some are less serious, but in many instances once the file is locked it cannot be unlocked by anyone other than the attacker.

There are several ways to lower the chances that you will be attacked by ransomware.  Standard security recommendations such as staying current with your operation system and anti-virus updates is a good start.  However, the latest trend in attacks is not to defeat hardware or software but to trick users into clicking on a link or downloading a file that will run a ransomware program on a computer.  Security awareness training is available to help end users identify these types of threats before they become a problem.  When traveling it’s recommended to use a virtual private network or VPN tunnel to help secure transmissions.  Business owners should consider a content filtering firewall to help block dangerous attachments from entering the network.  Online backup is another good way to protect yourself from this type of attack.  In the case of ransomware if a computer has been attacked all of the data on it may be unusable, but many times we can still do a clean install of the operating system and restore any data that has been backed up to another location.

In the case of attacks like ransomware the best offence is a good defense.  Find some time to take a good look at where your vulnerabilities are and what can be done to reduce them.  Identify what data is valuable and what the cost of replacing that information would be if it could not be accessed.  Or if it could be replaced at all if it was locked.  ReadiTech is here to help.  If you have security questions around ransomware or other types of attack please give us a call.

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