How can we deal with Ransomware effectively and prevent them from occurring?
Cybersecurity is vital as cyberattacks are prevalent. Therefore, we always hear horror stories. They affect not only individuals but also organisations. Cyberattacks cost billions of dollars to the economy. Cybercrime costs are estimated to reach 10 Trillion by 2025.
I was checking the tech news from my feeds earlier as my weekend read. One of the interesting and concerning news stories is the recent cyberattacks that forced a major US fuel pipeline to shut down.
It is good to know that the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is engaged in this situation.
The nature of the attack is Ransomware.
Ransomware is a common cybersecurity attack. These attacks use malware which is malicious software. If your device is infected with Ransomware, it will be unusable.
This malicious software can encrypt files in your computer or other devices; thus, you can no longer access them. They even can lock the device at the hardware level, so you cannot even start the machine.
These attacks are not only to business organisations but to individuals too.
The goal of the attacker is to collect money to unlock your files and device. They usually use bitcoin to collect funds because it is a type of anonymous payment method.
However, cybersecurity experts advise not to pay a ransom as they keep coming and asking for more money in the future. Furthermore, paying a ransom is not a guarantee you won’t experience the same problem in the future.
The best advice is to reformat your device and restore your files from backup.
Backing up your computer is crucial. Unfortunately, not many people pay attention to this until they hit a serious problem.
Nowadays, backing up your computer or other devices is easy and affordable. Cloud Computing made it available to the public. There are many services by Cloud vendors offering cheap storage service.
These services allow you to backup your entire device easily. All you need to do is to subscribe to the service and provide a link to your device. Updates happen automatically.
Apart from taking this precaution to create a backup of your system, you also need to be careful not to infect your device.
The most common way to infect with Ransomware is by visiting unsafe websites. The second common and most likely reason is opening emails and clicking on links from unknown sources. Unfortunately, they may sound genuine.
Social media also creates a risk as clicking on links on these sites can also cause infection.
How would you know if your devices have Ransomware?
A common sign is seeing pop-up messages asking for funds to unlock files. If you have such statements and cannot open your files, this confirms that your device is infected. There are other symptoms like your files may have unusual extensions, and they may even move from your current folders to different folders.
What can you do?
Here are a few practical and useful ways to prevent ransomware attacks.
Many modern devices come with ransomware protection. Therefore, you need to turn on this feature.
You also need to keep your device turned on for automatic updates. I use Apple and Microsoft devices, and both vendors provide frequent automatic updates. Unfortunately, hackers never settle; they keep creating new algorithms to beat the protection software.
Turn on multi-factor authentication in your email and social media accounts. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and LinkedIn offer multi-factor authentication.
If you are running websites or shared resources, pay attention to access controls. Never give more than the required privilege to collaborate. For example, if someone contributes to your website, you can give an author or editor access but not administrator access.
By following these good practices, you can reduce the risk of ransomware attacks. And to re-iterate, remember to create a backup of your device. This is a crucial point. Investing in backups will save you money and frustration if you face this undesirable situation.
Thank you for reading my perspectives.
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