What is Ransomware? Five Tips to Stay Safe

Ransomware is the use of software to intentionally damage a computer, server, client, or computer network.

Achieving ransomware involves a hacker threatening to publish victim’s data or perpetually block the access to it until a ransom is paid.

That is why most data owners do a lot of backups, which could be daily, weekly, and monthly. But hackers have been known to gain access to credible information through fraudulent means as they attack the victim’s server or computer network.

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The sophisticated ones go as far as encrypting the victim’s files and make them inaccessible until the ransom payment demanded is paid.

So, how is the ransom paid after they had taken over the victim’s system or network, they make use of an intractable system like digital currencies, some of which include Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

They succeed in gaining access to the victim’s system through trojan, which is uses a malware (software used for damaging network, a system of a server) to mislead users of its real intent.

Malware could be in the form of an email attachment, fake advertisement on social media, fake installation, among other things to gain access to the network or server through the backdoor. Once the unsuspecting victim followed the instruction, ransomware attackers will have access and exploit the security hole in the system.
Most of their victims have been hospitals, public schools, police departments, governments.
Recently, they have focused on websites with high traffic.

According to Wikipedia, ransomware scam has grown internationally since 2012, with 181.5 million attacks recorded in 2018 alone, which is a 229% percent increase from what was recorded in the previous year.

How to be safe from ransomware attacks

As this is already the challenges that data owners have to live with. To avoid paying a ransom, which is not a guarantee that you will have access to the files again, below are some of the ways you can stay safe by preventing ransomware attacks.

1. Back up: Data owners are advised to restore hacked files from a known good backup. Restoring the file from a backup is one of the best ways to regain access to your data.

2, Personal information: Never release your personal information whenever you get a mail, unsolicited phone call, text message, or instant message. This is because ransomware attackers, in a way, usually trick employees into installing malware unknowingly to gain access after claiming to be from IT. So, to avoid this dram, contact the IT department of your company when such a situation occurs.

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3. Use of trusted antivirus software and firewall: To maintain a high level of security for your network, there is a need for reputable antivirus software and a secure firewall. You have to as well keep your security software up to date as they are critical.

4. Content scanning and filtering: Do these on your mail servers by scanning your inbound e-mails for known threats and ensure that any attachment types that could pose a threat are blocked.

5. Use Trustworthy VPN: Whenever you have to travel, you will have to make use of public wireless internet. This makes you susceptible to ransomware attacks. So, to avoid being hacked, alert your IT department ahead and ensure that you use a trustworthy Virtual Private Network (VPN).

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