I have been asked this question many times now by different clients. The first time we came across Ransomware was 2 years ago now, when it was relatively unheard of. We had a call from one of our clients saying that every document in there their shared folder – word, excel and PowerPoint had changed language and was undecipherable.

This set among a lot of panic as you can imagine. Unable to continue normal work, losing productivity and receiving a demanding email asking for a $500 ransom. The ransom fee was demanded to correct all of the documents and remove the virus! This was the first time we had come across Ransomware, so this was new to us. Now we are hearing about it every week. All it took was for a legitimate looking email to come through and the inconspicuous attached document to be opened! Thankfully for our client we were able to rectify the problem and remove the Ransomware software, without paying the ridiculous ransom fee that was demanded.

So What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system's screen or by locking the users' files unless a ransom is paid. The Ransom is normally requested in Bit Coins – A cryptocurrency that provides an element of privacy and transactions are irreversible.

How do we stop Ransomware?

1. Keep a backup of all files
2. Create a security plan for your business
3. Use good reputable antivirus and firewall software
4. Employ content scanning and filtering on your mail servers
5. Show hidden file extensions
6. Be suspicious of emails, websites and apps
7. Always install updates and patches
8. Never pay the ransom

Prevention is absolutely the best strategy, don’t wait until you’ve been hit by Ransomware, as this can be costlier than putting a fix in place. The loss of production in staff and the costs to rectify the issues can spiral, depending on how much of your infrastructure has been affected.

Stay safe and don’t hand over your businesses hard earned money to these cyber criminals.

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