After speaking to a group of local professionals, we realized that many people do not know what ransomware is. It is something we deal with on a daily basis, so for us, ransomware is constantly on our radar. We decided to define this menace in an attempt to build awareness.
Ransomware is a type of malware that infiltrates your system and demands a ransom for your files. The most common forms of ransomware will encrypt all of your files and hold them hostage until payment. This is obviously a terrifying ordeal for businesses and anyone with important files. We have noticed an increase in attacks on businesses holding sensitive information because of the likelihood of a payout. Hospitals and medical facilities have been getting hit at an alarming rate.
Typically, ransomware enters your system through an email or a network security hole. That is why we always recommend updating your Operating system (Windows, OSX) whenever updates become available. Keeping your applications up-to-date is another crucial way to eliminate network vulnerabilities. These security holes need to be "patched" in order to protect your computer as much as possible. You should avoid malicious websites, this is another way ransomware can enter your network.
Of course, there is no magic solution to preventing ransomware. Being a sceptic is a great way to protect yourself from malicious activity. Never open unknown emails, and especially never open or download any documents or executable files. Spam filters and anti-virus and anti-malware software is a great defense against malicious activity.
If you would like to learn more about what you can do to protect your business network, see our Managed Security page.