5 Tips to Prevent and Contain Ransomware

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Ransomware started a plague for users and businesses in 2012. What started out as a simple download from an email or a site turned out to be malicious software that would not let you access your own files unless you pay a ransom, hence the name. Now there’s Wannacry and it has caused damage on many corporate computer networks and ultimately, a complete shutdown of all systems.

Ransomware has no easy fix. Once it takes over your files, your business will be put on hold until an IT Solutions Provider or an anti-virus program are able to fix it.

But there are ways on how to save your business from ending up in that situation. Here are 5 steps you can take to prevent ransomware from infecting your data.

  1. Always keep your programs and applications updated

    Updating takes a long time (if you have slow internet) and it is something people usually postpone until later. But updating your software, programs, extensions, etc., spells the difference between being protected and getting hacked. This is because when applications are not updated, they can have gaps in their security where viruses or in this case, ransomware, can enter. Hackers can find these defects and attack your company through the vulnerabilities.

  2. Have full-proof security

    It may be costly, but a full security suite (meaning, you have an antivirus program, a firewall up and running, and spam protection installed) is going to help you ward off malware – especially ransomware. This gives you the added layer of security you need so that the business is not easily penetrated by hackers.

  3. Educate your employees

    All your prevention methods and investment in IT solutions and antivirus programs will be futile if your employees are not careful about what they download on their computers. They should be educated by informing them of the various viruses and what they do to files and the computer network in general. For ransomware, employees should learn to not open emails from unknown senders because more often than not, this is a loophole that hackers pass through. Employees should also be consistently vigilant so that any malicious software will be kept at bay.

  4. Consistently back up files

    Backups are important because they could be your only saving grace in recovering files. It is best to have several backups, some in the cloud and some in portable devices so that you have several copies to rely on. You can put one in Dropbox and another in a hard drive. Another thing to take note of is that when making a backup, you can put permissions so that files are not easily altered.

  5. Don’t ever pay the ransom

    To be able to access your files, the ransomware will ask you to pay a fee for decryption. Don’t ever fall into this trap because who knows what the virus will do to your files. To add to that, there is no guarantee whether you can recover your files or not. This is where the backed up files are helpful. If you have a backup, you can just access your files from there. If you don’t have any, you can use other software programs to decrypt files.

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About Author

Jan Chapman is the Co-Founder and Managing director of MSP Blueshift. He has 20 years experience working in IT, a masters degree in networking and many industry certifications. IT can be a complex business, but Jan tries to make it as simple as possible. It’s a business tool, the simpler it is the more reliable it is, and when if it does break it’s quicker to repair.