How to Avoid Ransomware

Ransomware attacks

Ransomware is used by hackers to infiltrate networks and steal data. Modern ransomware is  capable of locking users out of their own computers, networks and files. Let’s take a look at how ransomware poses a threat to data and how enterprises can make themselves aware of the threats it poses before a breach occurs.

How Ransomware Works

Hackers deploy ransomware in similar ways that other types of threats and attacks are deployed. Often times, this occurs through a virus being sent through an email or link. These viruses target unsuspecting members of an enterprise. A ransomware threat can enter a system through something as simple as an employee opening an email that appears to contain a coupon, survey or free prize. Links within these sorts of emails will route a user to a malicious virus that can infiltrate a network and steal valuable information.

The Ransome Demand

Ransomware is a unique threat in that hackers will demand a ransom amount in return for turning over access to networks and/or files. By sending a message that demands a certain amount of money in exchange for a password to undo the virus, criminals will attempt to coax money out of victims. Even if a ransom is paid, there is no guarantee access to locked files will be restored once payment has been made.

Some ransomware attacks are more malicious than others. While some schemes revolve solely around money, others may attempt to blackmail their victims or threaten to reveal confidential information regarding business operations.

How to Avoid Ransomware Attacks

Enterprises of all sizes can be potential targets for a ransomware attack. For that reason, it is important for enterprises to have steps in place that can detect, prevent and stop ransomware attacks. Big data plays an important role in fraud management of ransomware attacks. One of the most efficient ways to neutralize the impact of a ransomware attack is to have a strong backup system. This ensures that files that are ‘locked’ can still be accessed via a backup system and can make the difference between being forced to stop business or continue operating once an attack has happened. Ideally, attacks should be stopped before it can happen. Big data can be used to quickly scan large amounts of incoming data. Markers of a virus can be detected, flagged and addressed in real time. Employee emails can be filtered using a big data streaming system. Words, links and characteristics that are likely to be malicious can be isolated before they reach the inboxes of unsuspecting employees.

Ransomware attacks are extremely disruptive. Atlanta’s government was recently hit by a ransomware attack that halted work for city employees for several days. Employees of the city were instructed to avoid turning on their computers. In addition, employees were told to monitor their personal bank accounts in the aftermath of the attack. That attack ended up costing the city $2.7 million in a short span of time. Due to these sorts of threats, enterprises of all sizes need to be aware of ransomware and how to protect against it.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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