Ransomware is one of the most talked about and publicised security threats in the modern era. What started as a few high-profile attacks caused by a handful of malware variants has developed into epidemic in which increasingly unskilled attackers are able to execute highly effective ransomware attacks against organisations of all sizes and levels of complexity.

What is ransomware?

A ransomware attack will often involve the malware rooting through any data to be found on your network. Ransomware is a malicious type of program that locks your computer, tablet, smartphone or encrypts your files. It then demands a ransom for their safe return. Having an infected computer or device would mean lots of valuable data including; documents, photos, databases, and so on would be encrypted. Once they’re encrypted, the files cannot be opened and a user cannot access them anymore. The user will be presented with a warning message notifying them of your dilemma. Then the criminals behind the attack will demand a ransom in exchange for the encryption key to restore access to the files.

How much is the usual ransom?

The ransom can vary. Some ransomware programs ask for as little as £20 however, some can demand thousands of pounds. Usually, the larger the organisation the higher the ransom demand.

Who falls victim to ransomware?

Anyone can fall victim to ransomware. However, small-to-midsize businesses disproportionately fall victim to ransomware, as they often lack the technical skills and tools needed to prevent infection. According to research, more than 50 percent of small and midsize businesses have fallen victim to ransomware.

How to stay protected from ransomware…

It’s usually very unlikely that you can decrypt the encrypted files without paying a ransom. Unfortunately, if you haven’t backed up your data the only option is to pay the ransom. Therefore, the obvious answer is to take preventative measures:

-Get GOOD anti-virus software. Do your research and ensure you cover all company computers and servers as well as, your own.

-Don’t open suspicious e-mail attachments, do not visit suspicious websites and do not download programs from any sites other than official developer websites and app stores.

-Back up your files regularly. As well as, putting on both on-site and off-site backup solutions in place. By doing this you have the chance to restore your files from backup copies should you be subject to a ransomware attack.

-Educate your staff. Ensure your staff are well aware of the details behind ransomware attacks so they are able to spot suspicious web links and e-mails.