Ransomware is a type of malicious software that threatens to publish a victim’s data or block access to it unless a ransom is paid. “It gets on one person’s computer but then it reaches out and it maps all those shared network drives, ransomware takes advantage of that,” Brian Dykstra said, the CEO of Atlantic Data Forensics. Ransomware acts as if it’s picking a lock to enter your data world.
“It has a key that it knows and encrypts all that data with that and when it’s done it lets the criminal know they’re the only one that has the key to unlock your data,” Dykstra said. According to officials at Atlantic Data Forensics, ransomware spreads through phishing emails or by unknowingly visiting an infected website.
“Half the time, its people encrypting themselves the other half of the time its the hacker has been in your network for a while and they’re just using it as a last way to make more money on their way out,” Dykstra said.
Protecting your business from ransomware attacks can be quick and painless when you know what to look for. “Patch your computers, when that little pop up comes up do you want apply the latest software apple patch. Say yes to anti-virus software, it should be something that you pay for and credible don’t just download it, that’s another way people get ransomware,” Dykstra said.
Most of the time it’s hard to know if you’re a victim of a ransomware attack. The virus will run in the background of your data. One of the signs can be your files showing a new name next to them that you’ve never seen before.” Get off the network as quickly as possible, literally shutting down, pulling cables out, turn off everything that’s critical that’s not currently encrypted,” Dykstra said.
Cybersecurity officials say, one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and your business is taking the extra steps to back up your files.