Back to blog

What You Need to Know about Ransomware to Keep Your Data Safe

Recent media coverage on ransomware like WannaCry has incited great demand for data backup and preservation. Businesses watched aghast as the initial WannaCry strain swept through highly sensitive networks around the world, locking hundreds of thousands of users out of their home and work computers. Now, more than ever, businesses seek preventive measures to stop this type of digital extortion from occurring within their own networks.

Interestingly, ransomware isn’t a new threat. Since 2005, attackers have sought to lockdown networks and demand money—often in the form of digital currency—before relinquishing control back to the user. Lately, it seems these attacks are wider scale; the ransomware worms its way from computer-to-computer after infiltrating a network, making it difficult to quarantine. Moreover, these days, ransomware also breeds new strains quickly, making it difficult to contain an outbreak.

Unfortunately, there’s very little you can do once a computer gets attacked—a reason why so many victims pay up. A study by Symantec tracked a ransomware strike back in 2012 and measured the concession rate among victims. Of 5,700 infected computers, three percent of victims paid the ransom. At roughly $200 per computer, that attack yielded more than $34,000 a day during its lifecycle.

How to Prevent Ransomware from Taking Control

So how can you prevent such extortion from happening on your own network? The first step is awareness of how ransomware spreads. Often, ransomware spreads through malicious e-mail, infected software and hardware (i.e. USB) and compromised websites. Thus, you should be careful with email attachments you open, what programs you install and which websites you visit. Since that’s often easier said than done, it’s also essential to have the proper protection in place.

Anti-virus and anti-malware are must-haves. Additionally, you should employ a firewall with features like gateway anti-virus, intrusion prevention, botnet filtering and more. Since ransomware can affect mobile devices too, using a solution like SonicWall can help to protect endpoints and devices connecting remotely. For more information on services and solutions for protecting against ransomware, reach out to Gentek today for advice!