A ransomware attack is when malware encrypts files on a computer or device and holds them hostage until the victim pays a ransom. This kind of cyber attack is becoming more common.
Typically, attackers spread ransomware through phishing emails that include malicious links or attachments. Once the user clicks on the link or attachment, the malware downloads and infects the victim’s computer.
1. Encrypted files
Your IT team is notified of a ransomware attack and you are suddenly unable to access your company’s files or databases. You’re frantic and can’t do anything about it until you realize that all of your files have been encrypted.
Despite your best efforts, there is no guarantee that the files you need will be recovered. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the impact of future attacks and prevent your business from being hacked again.
In fact, it is often better to take proactive measures and encrypt your files before an attacker takes hold of them. This will provide you with enough time to remove all devices on the breached network, report the incident, and gain assistance from a digital risk management organization.
Unfortunately, even when a file is already encrypted, it can still be taken by ransomware. This is because the encryption is based on cryptography, which uses sophisticated mathematical equations and secret keys to lock data.
2. Payment options
If your organization has been hit by ransomware, you may be tempted to pay the attackers. However, there are a number of risks associated with this decision.
The first is that you might not get the data back once you pay. This has been seen in studies where only 60% of organisations who paid the initial ransom actually regained access to their data afterward.
Another concern is that paying the hackers could encourage them to target your business again in future. They may even try to extort more money from you.
To avoid this, make sure you have plans in place to deal with an attack. This can include running through executive tabletop exercises that simulate a real attack and pressure test your decisions.
3. Decryption keys
Some ransomware viruses encrypt files using data encryption, which means that data cannot be opened without a decryption key. This type of attack is dangerous and can lead to loss of important information.
This is why it is recommended to have backups of your files and storage devices. They are a good way to ensure that your data remains safe, even if your computer becomes infected with ransomware.
Fortunately, there are ways to recover encrypted files from ransomware attacks. One way is to use your antivirus software’s built-in decryption tool.
Another method is to search online for a free decryption key for the specific strain of ransomware. This is a risky and time-consuming process, but it can save you from losing your data.
In addition, there are several ways to reverse a file’s encryption without a decryption key. These methods include brute-force and dictionary attacks. These techniques can take days to complete, but they are still a valid option for recovering an encrypted file.
4. Recovery options
It’s a frightening moment when you realize that your business data is encrypted by ransomware. You have a choice: Pay the ransom or try to restore your data using backups.
A well-planned, effective recovery solution is key to avoiding downtime and disruption of critical business operations. The recovery process must be designed to account for the different potential attack vectors and address all aspects of the data that ransomware could attack – software, components, dependencies, configurations, networking settings, monitoring and security tools, and everything else that’s required for running your business.
The first step is to isolate devices and remove them from the network to prevent further spread of ransomware. This will also protect other devices on the network from being infected.