How Does Ransomware Work and What Technologies Best Prevent It?


How Does Ransomware Work and What Technologies Best Prevent It

Ransomware has quickly become one of the most troublesome issues that businesses deal with nowadays. Globally, ransomware is expected to have cost organizations over $5 billion in 2017 with no signs of slowing down.

The threat landscape has grown so large that attackers can now buy and sell ransomware as a service. Couple this with the fact that new strains and variants of this type of malware are added on a frequent basis and it becomes evident that ransomware is a threat you have to take seriously. And you must do so immediately.

How Does Ransomware Work?

Ransomware works by leveraging one of the most important tools in computer security: file encryption.

Once the attacker delivers ransomware to their victim, usually as a file attached to a phishing email, the malware gets to work. Once it is opened, it begins to search for files on the infected computer and starts to encrypt them. These files may be documents, spreadsheets, images, movies, or anything else that seems important.

Learn how to protect your business by watching our webinar:  Next-Gen Threat Prevention—Anti-Ransomware & Advanced SandboxingOnce the ransomware has encrypted enough files, the victim is notified that their computer is infected. The victim almost immediately notices that they no longer have access to their files because they have been locked out by the ransomware.

Along with this warning come instructions for payment, usually ranging from the hundreds to thousands of dollars, payable in Bitcoin. The promise is that once payment is made, the key to decrypt the files will be delivered. However, some victims have found that this isn’t the case.

What Technologies Best Prevent Ransomware?

The unfortunate truth behind ransomware attacks is that once you are infected, there is no way to decrypt the locked files without the key. This means that if you are infected, you either have to pay the ransom, which no one ever advises you do, or hope that the key is published at some time.

That is, unless your IT team did things the right way.

Backup and Recovery to the Rescue

The only successful method to restoring your files without paying the ransom is if you have a properly configured backup and recovery solution in place. If your IT team performs regular backups, and regularly tests them to ensure that the restoration process works, then you have options. You can clean the infected computers on your network and restore the files from your backup storage.

Unfortunately, too many businesses find out that they are either not performing regular backups of their data or that their solution is not configured properly.

Monitoring for Malware

Another layer of protection from ransomware and other types of malware is monitoring your systems. Anti-malware solutions scan files for known malware and behavior patterns in different types of malware such as ransomware. When set up properly, these can help eliminate some of the digital threats.

Other security solutions also scan your computers and network resources for specific file types and behaviors that resemble ransomware. Email security solutions and other detection solutions may pick up on a ransomware attack before any computers are infected. Again, any technical solutions you put in place to thwart ransomware attacks will only work if they are configured, updated, and managed properly.

The Resources You Need to Stay Secure

Threat actors and cybercriminals continue to launch successful ransomware attacks against organizations in all industries because they know that so many systems are vulnerable. Organizations, unfortunately, don’t always have the staff, the knowledge, or the experience to properly configure the multitude of devices that they are required to manage.

That is why so many organizations that find themselves understaffed or overwhelmed turn to a trusted managed security services provider to help them. The right managed services partner will arm you with a team of experts who have firsthand experience in dealing with ransomware and other threats. Using their knowledge and experience, you will be able to safeguard your organization’s data and resources against known threats, while proactively defending against other threats that loom on the horizon.

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