It’s the moment that everyone dreads – logging onto your work computer to see a malicious piece of software has taken over and you can’t access your files. Worse more, you’ve been asked to pay a sum of money to regain access, otherwise sensitive files will be posted on the dark web. But what is this type of malware, and how can you protect yourself moving forwards?
It was way back in 1988 when the first cyberattack happened, and cyber-criminals were born. But since then, as you can imagine, these criminals have become a lot smarter and employed lots of different tactics to encrypt data. But have you heard of ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware that stops users from accessing their computer or personal files, demanding a ransom payment to regain access. It is often designed to spread across a network and can quickly paralyze an entire organization. Unfortunately, today, malware is an ever-growing presence and threat, generating billions of pounds in payments to cybercriminals. Ultimately, this will inflict significant damage and expense for businesses.
A recent example of a business that became the victim of a ransomware attack is Hackney Council. Hackney Council revealed that in October, staff data, passports and tenancy audits were stolen and posted on the dark web.
Our CEO, Luke Mead, commented on the attack, saying: “I believe it will set a precedent moving forward – cyber-crime is most definitely developing. My perception from an outside point of view would be that what has happened here is that the cybercriminals have run their ransomware attack, have held the council to extortion to say they demand a ransom to unlock the encrypted files or systems.”
So, how can you protect yourself from a ransomware attack?
- Never click on unverified links
- Do not open email attachments from people you don’t trust
- Only download from trusted websites
- Don’t give out personal information to people or businesses you don’t know
- Use mail server content scanning and filtering
- Use security software
- Keep security software up to date
- Back up your data
While these points are a good start at preventing any ransomware attacks, you should introduce a full IT security review and plan. This will proactively identify any risks and stop them before the worst happens. You can speak to us about setting up a risk assessment by either calling us on 0330 088 2565 or email us at email@example.com.