5 Tips to avoid being hit with ransomware

5 tips to avoid being hit with ransomware

The first thing you might be asking is what the heck is ransomware? 

Ransomware is crazy awful malware that affects the files on your hard drive and network drives by encrypting your files. After it installs and migrates through your network, you get a warning on your computer screen and are asked to pay a ransom to receive the key to decrypt your files.

It's one of the worst situations you can find yourself in. Some companies have paid the ransom and gotten their files back. Others paid and their files remained encrypted forever. Your dealing with criminals so it should be of no surprise that they aren't always honest.

Check out this story about the University of Calgary who had to pay $20K to get their files back. 

So if it can happen to the University of Calgary, with their enormous and experienced IT team, it can happen to just about any small to medium sized business. 

Just 2 weeks ago a client of ours was hit with ransomware. Someone opened an email from someone they didn't know, and clicked on an attachment and it was done. Over 75,000 files were encrypted. Thanks to some fancy footwork and good old fashioned reverse hacking, we were able to fix the problem without paying the ransom. It took days to fix the problem and our client was unable to work at full capacity for a week. 

Your best bet is to be prepared and educated. 

Here are 5 Tips to avoid being hit with ransomware:

1) Only open attachments you are expecting:

If you get a strange attachment from a work-related email, delete it. If someone you don't know sends you a file - delete it. Only open files you were expecting. End of story. 

2) Make sure your anti virus is up-to-date:

For that matter make sure everything is up-to-date. 90% of new clients that we visit haven't updated their OS or anti virus software and are open to all kinds of malicious attacks. 

3) Don't do your work logged in as an Admin:

Being the king of the castle is great but if you download a virus when you are logged in as an Admin your entire network and admin rights are at risk and there is little magic left in the universe to fix the situation you will find yourself in. 

4) Train your employees on proper computer use:

Your users can be your weakest link. Education is powerful in helping protect your network. When is the last time your had a lunch-and-learn on computer safety? Do you have a computer use manual?  

5) Segment your network: 

Separate functional areas with a firewall, e.g., the client and server networks, so systems and services can only be accessed if really necessary.

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