How to Protect Yourself from a Ransomware Attack

Plan for the Worst-Case Scenario

One of the most malicious forms of cyber attack is ransomware. And anyone can fall victim–from major corporations and government agencies to small businesses and individuals. Like other cyberattacks, ransomware can cost you and your business valuable data, time, and money, not to mention the emotional toll.

But, with best-in-class cybersecurity software installed, as well as a plan in place to protect your system, the threat and pain points from cyberattacks like ransomware can be minimized. And because ransomware is so disruptive, shielding your computers from these attacks is something you definitely want to do.

What Is Ransomware?

Ransomware can make your worst digital nightmare come true. It is malicious software that often gets installed on your computer by clicking a link or downloading an attachment in a phishing email or visiting a malware-infected website. If ransomware hits your computer you can lose control over important files or even your entire computer or network. Cybercriminals then hold your computer hostage, demanding ransom in return, usually in the form of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

The two primary types of ransomware include:

  1. Crypto ransomware: Encrypts valuable files on a computer so that the user cannot access them
  2. Locker ransomware: Does not encrypt files. Rather, it locks the victim out of their device, preventing them from using it. Once they are locked out, cybercriminals carrying out locker ransomware attacks will demand a ransom to unlock the device

High Frequency of Ransomware Attacks

According to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), ransomware attacks occur about every 14 seconds.

“The monetary value of ransom demands has increased, with some demands exceeding $1 million dollars,” the agency reports. These attacks can be highly destructive not only to the bottom line but to your reputation. Moreover, ceding to the cybercriminal and paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee you’ll regain access to your files.

Unfortunately, if you’ve fallen victim to a ransomware attack, it’s very difficult to diffuse, without a full system wipe and restoration, as franchisees at NerdsToGo know all too well.

Fortunately, preventing ransomware attacks is definitely something you can count on from the Nerds, said Brian Kane, NerdsToGo Senior Director of Technology. “The cybersecurity stack we use for our customers who have purchased our NerdAssure(SM) solution offers best-in-class protection against ransomware.”

Though no software provides a 100% guarantee of protection against cyberattacks, he said, NerdsToGo “partners with best-in-class vendors and uses enterprise-level tools to protect customers from ransomware.”

Protect Your Business from Ransomware

Whether you're operating a small business or are a home user, prevention is the best medicine for cyberattacks of all types.

Prevention involves more than just having the best software. It’s also a matter of education. For businesses, here’s a handy checklist for proactively planning and protecting your network from the risks of ransomware.

  • Create an Information Security Policy and have employees review and sign at the time of hire and review annually
  • Keep your computer systems updated with current operating systems, software, web browsers, and patches for all
  • Install the latest, next-gen anti-virus/anti-malware software on all devices and run scans routinely
  • Install a reputable standalone firewall for your network and ensure that the firewall is enabled and up-to-date
  • Have at least one data backup solution such as a cloud
  • Do not share accounts and passwords. Use strong passwords of at least 8 characters, utilizing letters, numbers, and special characters
  • Make sure all devices (computers, routers, firewalls, etc.) are password protected
  • Provide training for every employee at the time of hire and on an annual basis

Want to make sure your computers are protected from ransomware and other cyber threats? Help is just a click or call away. Look to the friendly team at NerdsToGo to meet all your cybersecurity needs.

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