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Ransomware is one of the most common forms of malicious software - or malware - on the internet. Billions are lost annually to hackers who sneak these nasty bits of code into both corporate and private networks.

Due to the ever-increasing amount of money that is involved in these attacks, they are becoming more and more advanced. This means that preventing them means constantly keeping up to date with the new threats and has led to ransomware protection becoming big business.

But how do we best prevent ransomware from finding its way into our computers? There are a few defences that IT teams can employ but the weak point in the majority of networks is ultimately the end user themselves. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to account for human error so education on things like spotting phishing emails is key. 

In this guide, we’re going to take a look at what exactly ransomware is, how it works and what best practices are when it comes to preventing ransomware attacks.

 

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a particular type of malware that essentially holds data to ransom. It does this by infecting a target computer and encrypting important information; the victim is then told they need to pay a set amount for the data to be released. 

To give you an idea of how much we are talking about, in 1989 the first recorded case of ransomware took place and cost the victim $189. In 2019, the US city of Baltimore was held to ransom for an eye watering $18 million.

 

How do people fall victim to ransomware?

By far the most common way that ransomware finds its way into a target computer is via a phishing email or malicious social media message. These are emails and messages sent out by cyber criminals that are often disguised to look legitimate. If the recipient opens the email or message and clicks on the link contained within, the ransomware is downloaded to their computer. If undetected, this malicious software can spread to other computers on the same network.

Other ways that victims fall foul of ransomware include using an unsecured public connection without a VPN, unknowingly using infected USB devices and visiting compromised websites.

 

Tips for preventing ransomware attacks

Luckily, there are some ransomware prevention measures that you can take in order to keep cybercriminals at bay. Many of these are linked to poor employee practises and can be easily implemented.

1. Do not click any suspicious links

Really driving home this point can help the fight against malware hugely. Human nature dictates that links will still be clicked and computers will still be compromised but making your workforce aware of these potential ransomware threats can nip any potential issues in the bud.

2. Keep backups

If you have backups of all your data then losing what any hackers have encrypted is of little importance. There are various forms of data backup available, just ensure that backups are not at risk of compromise.

3. Make sure your personal information remains yours

Even access to the most basic personal information can grant hackers access to sensitive data. Be sure that you or anyone with access to your wider network is aware of the risks associated with giving out personal information. This is just as important to remember in real life as it is online.

4. Improve your network security with threat removal

Installing anti-ransomware malware software can have a great impact on the likelihood of you suffering an attack. Keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date is important. However, many forms of anti-virus and ransomware protection software are detection-based, meaning they struggle to keep with the latest ransomware variants. By taking a proactive approach and installing preventative software, such as Deep Secure’s Threat Removal, you will be giving your network the best shot at stopping any malware attacks. 

Deep Secure specialise in protecting against and neutralising malicious software that poses a risk to businesses. Our solutions contain Threat Removal technology that is included in a variety of products, each of which is designed for protection against ransomware and other forms of malware. The ransomware prevention software provides protection against both known and zero-day malware and carries a 100% success rate.  

Using software like this allows employees to safely and securely share documents and also allows all incoming email attachments and other files to be scanned for ransomware prior to opening. As well as this ability to share documents without worry, it allows for safe web browsing, without the risk of compromised sites infecting your network.


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