Help – I'm Under Attack by Ransomware!
You decide to use your PC or Mac to get some personal work done, and find you can’t open files that you could access earlier. If it’s a Windows computer you, might see this message flashing on your screen – Windows can’t open this file. If it’s a Mac, this is the message – No associated application.
Then you notice your computer is not working as smoothly as before. In a worst-case scenario (yes, things could be worse), you might not even be able to log into your system.
If you somewhat aware of cybersecurity and online threats , you might have a suspicion about what is happening. But your worst fears are confirmed when you see the message: Your files are encrypted.
You panic. You don’t know what to do. To be fair, not many of us will be cool, calm, and composed if we can’t access important files on our computer.
You’ve been hit by a ransomware attack.
Ransomware is rampant
51% of organizations were hit by ransomware in 2019. Meanwhile, your home computers are also targets for ransomware attacks, these days. And with more people are working remotely because the global pandemic has disrupted work across the world, that trend keeps growing.
Employees working from home on their official laptops/desktops or personal laptops are targeted by cybercriminals, trying to exploit security gaps. They might not otherwise have the opportunity to exploit these gaps if these employees were working inside the organization’s protected network perimeter.
Let’s cut back to the scenario above when you realize that your computer has been attacked by ransomware. How this could have happened? What did you do wrong, with respect to cybersecurity and cyber hygiene?
Ransomware attack vectors
Thinking back, you remember receiving an email that looked a little bit ‘iffy.’ You downloaded the attachment nevertheless, which contained garbled messaging. You closed it and forgot all about it. You now know that this file was the culprit. It carried a ransomware payload and proceeded to drop it on your computer.
This is one way the ransomware might have taken over your computer. Ransomware can access a computer when you visit a malicious website that downloads a malware onto your computer. Or an attacker might have exploited a security weakness on a frequently used software to plant ransomware on your system.
The attack vectors are growing even as we speak. So, you need to be careful. When it comes to ransomware, prevention is always better than cure.
What do you do if you know you are under a ransomware attack? Start by following this process:
- The infection must be isolated so that it doesn’t move from your computer to other computers and other systems, such as shared storage and the network.
- Conduct a forensic analysis to learn about the attack vector used, and use identification tools to know more about that malware that wreaked havoc on your computer.
- Report to the relevant authorities about the ransomware attack, so that that they can begin taking effective steps to track the cybercriminals responsible for the attack.
- Start improving the cybersecurity posture of your home computer or the which ever devices has been infected by ransomware. If you are running a SOHO business, you might be using more than one computer, so it’s imperative that your cybersecurity plan covers all computers.
Next, take preventative action to avoid ransomware scare is better than actually scrambling to reduce the impact of a ransomware attack.
When it comes ransomware, defense is the best offense. It’s simple really. Building in good cyber habits will go a long way in preventing ransomware infection. This helps protect your computer against advanced malware attacks. Also, these habits can keep you safe from all manner of cyberattacks:
- Patch, patch, and patch. Your operating systems and all software in regular use must be patched and up to date. This ensures cybercriminals cannot exploit a vulnerability on your system or software.
- Stay away from clicking on random emails, or even those that come from “trusted” sources if you have doubts about them. If an email asks you to take action, such as click on a link or download an attachment, be absolutely sure that the email is legitimate. Also, be aware about the kind of phishing attacks that will be levelled at you.
- Back up of your files regularly (frequently). Make sure your important files are available for access even you suffer from a ransomware attack.
But above all, invest in and deploy a comprehensive and advanced antivirus solution to protect your computer.
Ward off the evils of ransomware with Sophos Home
Sophos Home protects all your files and photos from ransomware with its advanced anti-ransomware technology that tracks all processes interacting with your valuable data. Upon detecting unknown data encryption, this action is terminated and files are rolled backed to their pre-tampered state. Also, it offers an integrated set of security features that can stop threats at the gate before they have a chance to infect your computer. It uses predictive artificial intelligence (AI) with deep learning to protect your home computer from unknown threats. You get the same security that is used by enterprises across the globe to safeguard their network from known and unknown threats.
If you want to protect your computer against ransomware threats, develop a sense of security awareness and seriousness about securing your computer.