Ransomware: A Cheat Sheet For Professionals

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is malware. The hackers demand payment, often via bitcoin or prepaid credit card, from victims in order to regain access to an infected device and the data sorted.

Why does ransomware matter?

Because of the ease of deploying ransomware, cybercriminals increasingly rely on such malware attacks to generate profits.

What are the primary targets of ransomware attacks?

While home users were traditionally targets of ransomware attacks, healthcare, schools and universities and the public sector are now targeted with increasing frequency. Enterprises are more likely to have deep pockets from which to extract a ransom.

What are the most well-known ransomware attacks?

Ransomware has been an active and ongoing malware threat since September 2013. WannaCry, Petya and the Colonial Pipeline attack are some of the most high-profile ransomware attacks to date.

How do I protect myself from a ransomware attack?

A variety of tools developed in collaboration with law enforcement and security firms are available to decrypt your computer.

5 essential things to do before ransomware strikes

1. Have Backups

Cyber threats are constantly evolving, becoming more and more prevalent and malicious. Many companies hit by ransomware find that their backups are in poor shape or missing key data. In the heat of the moment, you need to have high confidence in the solidity of your backups.

2. Know How to Restore Your Backups

Having backups of your data is only effective if you know how to successfully restore them incase of a cyber-attack. Try to have multiple copies across different technologies, this way you are always prepared for disaster recovery.

3. Make Sure Your Cloud Backups Work

While it is convenient to back up to the cloud, it can also be painfully slow to restore, especially large volumes. Some cloud providers themselves may have security issues and can get hit. For sensitive data, get familiar with the nature of your cloud backups and how they operate.

4. Be Recovery Ready

It can be daunting to try an organization-wide disaster recovery drill, however picking a specific department and staging a disaster recovery drill can be more doable. You are almost guaranteed to find things that you should change or adjust before it is too late. Remember that the best time to test a backup is before you need it due to an emergency.

5. Have a Game Plan

It is essential that you know step by step what to do incase of a cyber attack. What team member takes on what role? Is everyone in the organization aware of who to report to when disaster strikes Can you identify various types of malicious cyber threats and know how to respond? Perhaps invest in a cyber training platform to ensure all team members are prepared.