WHAT IS RANSOMWARE?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that locks the files on your device so you can’t open them. A message (or ransom note) from the criminal will appear on your screen, demanding money in return for a code to unlock the files.

You can become a victim of ransomware by accidentally by clicking on an email attachment, or if your security software isn’t up to date.

Cybercriminals usually demand you pay the ransom in a virtual currency, such as Bitcoin, because it’s difficult for police to trace.

Ransomware attacks are just like any other extortion attempt. The police advise that businesses should never comply with a criminals’ request for money.

How can you help protect your business from Ransomware?

  • Be wary of unsolicited messages and train your employees how to spot suspicious emails.
  • Always keep your operating system, anti-virus and applications up-to-date.
  • Back up your data. You should save a copy of your important files onto a removable hard drive, USB drive or secure cloud storage. If you back up to a physical device, always disconnect it from the computer when it’s done, because cyber criminals can encrypt or delete back-ups if they’re connected to the computer or network.
  • Test that your back-ups work correctly by regularly restoring your data to a separate ‘test’ location.
  • Put in place incident management plan that has key contacts, processes and business continuity plans in case you do have an issue.

CHECK YOUR UNDERSTANDING

What’s the best way of preventing a ransomware attack?

Use strong passwords and a different one for every account.

Incorrect. This is good cyber security practice, but it won’t stop a ransomware attack because they come through phishing emails or from weaknesses in an out-dated operating system.

Keep your operating system and anti-virus software up-to-date.

Correct. Keeping your anti-virus software and operating systems up-to-date will help stop cyber criminals.

Back up your data on a separate device or in the cloud.

Partially correct. This is an excellent practice and will help you recover your data after a ransomware attack, but it won’t prevent one. The best way to protect your business is to keep you operating system and anti-virus up to date, and to not click on links or attachments in suspicious looking emails.