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Ransomware – How To Avoid It & Protect Yourself

What Is Ransomware?

We often hear about ransomware from colleagues and the media, but what is it? Ransomware is a type of harmful software Cyber Criminals use to stop you accessing your own data. Cyber Criminals will threaten to publish your personal data (in many cases publicly) and in order to gain access again, you will need to pay their ransom.

How Does It Work?

How does this software work? Ransomware can enter and attack your computer or network in many ways. The most common is a download via an email attachment. Other methods include social engineering, downloaded software from a compromised website, chat messages and even a USB drive. Therefore once the software enters your network, the download launches the ransomware program which attacks your system. Then it will replicate itself, search through your documents and encrypt the contents so that you cannot access them.

How Can I Protect Myself Against Harmful Software?

There are many steps you can take to protect your data and your business, one way is data backups. Keeping your data backed up is an effective way to recover from a ransomware attack and protect you from software corruption, hardware failure, and accidents. Moreover, a backup solution should keep at least 3 copies of your data, uses 2 or more different types of media to store your data and keeps at least 1 copy of your data off-site. If such steps are not taken, your files could end up encrypted.

Below are some steps you can take to minimise your risks from ransomware:

  • Have anti-virus software on your device and ensure it is up to date
  • Do not open any email attachments that look suspicious
  • Be very sceptical of clicking on a link unless you know what it is and you trust it
  • Never disclose your personal information
  • Never connect an unknown USB drive into your computer
  • Keep all your programs and operating systems up to date with the latest security updates
  • Educate yourself on ransomware (like you’re doing now)
  • Share this with your contacts and colleagues to raise their awareness
  • Ensure your backup solution is healthy and fit for purpose.

How We Can Help You

Cambridge Support offers Cyber Essentials which is a government driven initiative providing guidance to help organisations measure their defences against common threats. We have over 30 years’ experience and would love to help you. For more details contact us now.

Cambridge Support also offer free Cyber Security Awareness training to their customers and encourage them all to attend one of these sessions. The training is available to other organisations for a small fee where 100% of the fee is donated to charities. To find out more please contact us on 01223 921 000 or email us at