How to Stay Safe from Latest Ransomware Attacks

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Ransomware attacks have become a very prominent occurrence in the last few years and continue to rise every day. There have been many Ransomware attacks in the past few years alone such as WannaCry, Locky, VirLock, Havoc, Petya and many others that have shaken the IT industry and forcing them into implementing better security measures into their systems. How can we in the industry prevent future ransomware attacks from occurring in the future? While we cannot stop these attacks from happening themselves, we can take precautionary measures to repel such attacks. The key to this is to have antivirus solutions installed, make sure all known vulnerabilities are patched and do not install apps from authors that are unknown.

 

Before elaborating on how to add ransomware protection to your systems, let us dig into the two main types of ransomware out there: Crypto Ransomware and Locker Ransomware.

 

Crypto Ransomware

Also known as CryptoLocker, this ransomware works by encrypting the data of the users it has infected and then creates a random symmetric key for each of the files that it encodes. Afterward the symmetric key generated for the data is encrypted again with the asymmetric public key.

Locker Ransomware

Locker (not to be mistaken for CryptoLocker) is a type of ransomware that encrypts files and targets Microsoft Windows operating systems. When this ransomware is installed it begins to scan the victim’s hard drive for files that have a specific extension, (such as .rar or .zip) and then begins to encrypt them with AES encryption. When it finishes encrypting all the valuable user data, it will display a screen saying that all of your data has been locked and that you need to pay a certain amount of money to get your files back and unlocked. In order to pay them off, the user must usually make payments using Cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin to the perpetrator.

So how do you stay safe from ransomware attacks and add extra protection? Here are a few methods:

1) Make Secure Backups Regularly

Make sure that you backup all of your critical data and that all of your essential data is not stored on your PC. It is important to fragment your data into folders and separate highly sensitive and vital data. It is also helpful to make and multiple backups in different places such as on a flash drive, external hard Drive and have another backup in the cloud using backup services like Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft’s OneDrive.

To ensure your backups are 100% safe and secure, you should encrypt your data before uploading it either in the cloud or by saving it locally on a hard drive. Encrypting your data is important because if you lose your hard drive or the cloud service itself gets compromised the hackers will not be able to get into your data.

2) Keep everything updated to the latest version

The easiest way for a hacker to infiltrate your computer is through vulnerabilities and bugs in the applications and operating systems that you are using. After finding a vulnerability they make an exploit in order to use that bug to cause damage or steal valuable information. Keep everything updated with the latest security updates. Make sure your operating system is updated and keep check for updates occasionally.

4) Be careful when opening Emails

Do not open emails that you receive from unknown senders or open emails that were not meant to arrive. More importantly, never download attachments from emails that look suspicious, filed with keywords, or that promise you a free trip to the Caribbean. Finally, do not click on links in spam emails unless you are certain it was not meant to be in spam.

5) Use a reliable Antivirus solution

Investing in a reliable and effective antivirus software is always a good idea to ensure complete round the clock protection for your PC. There are many antivirus solutions for Windows you can choose from, however always ensure that the software supports real-time scanning and auto updates. You can check the threat detection rate of all the antivirus programs with a simple online search.

6) Stop from paying the ransom

Like in most hostage situations it is highly advised not to pay the money to get your files as most of the times you will not get the data back. Additionally, it encourages the hackers to commit more of these crimes as they have now been rewarded for their actions. Instead of paying the ransom there are free ransomware decryption and removal tools on the internet that you can download and use to get your files back at no cost at all.

Conclusion

Security is vital to every single part of your online presence be it a website, server, online business, personal computer, laptop, social media profile everything needs to be secure. It is therefore imperative for you to know how to stay safe from harmful ransomware attacks. We hope you enjoyed this guide and stay safe on the web.

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About CyberSponse, Inc.
CyberSponse Incorporated, a global leader in cyber security automation & orchestration, helps accelerate an organization’s processes, security operations teams and incident responders. The CyberSponse platform enables organizations to seamlessly integrate, automate and playbook their security tool stack, enabling better, faster and more effective security operations. With a global presence, offering an enterprise platform, Cybersponse enables organizations to secure their security operations teams and environments.

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