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Are You Protecting Yourself From Ransomeware?

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On October 04, 2019 - The FBI released an alert this week about an increase in ransomware attacks across all sectors, including healthcare, state and local governments, and other infrastructure targets. Over the last few months, the healthcare sector has seen two separate providers permanently close and others forced into downtime after falling victim to ransomware. A McAfee report recently showed ransomware attacks have doubled in 2019.

According to two recent reports from Emsisoft and the Institute for Critical Infrastructure technology, 491 providers have fallen victim to ransomware so far this year and hackers are ramping up ‘disruption ware’ campaigns for a greater impact on its victims. “Ransomware attacks are becoming more targeted, sophisticated, and costly, even as the overall frequency of attacks remains consistent,” FBI officials wrote. “Since early 2018, the incidence of broad, indiscriminate ransomware campaigns has sharply declined, but the losses from ransomware attacks have increased significantly, according to complaints received by IC3 and FBI case information.”


Hackers have been leveraging phishing campaigns, remote desktop protocol vulnerabilities, and software vulnerabilities to infect organizations. Most of the ransomware attacks that have taken place in the past have been linked to poor protection practices by employees.

There are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to ransomware.

  1. Do not pay the ransom. It only encourages and funds these attackers. Even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee that you will be able to regain access to your files.
  2. Restore any impacted files from a known good backup. Restoration of your files from a backup is the fastest way to regain access to your data.
  3. Do not provide personal information when answering an email, unsolicited phone call, text message or instant message. Phishers will try to trick employees into installing malware, or gain intelligence for attacks by claiming to be from IT. Be sure to contact your IT department if you or your coworkers receive suspicious calls.
  4. Use reputable antivirus software and a firewall. Maintaining a strong firewall and keeping your security software up to date are critical. It’s important to use antivirus software from a reputable company because of all the fake software out there.
  5. Do employ content scanning and filtering on your mail servers. Inbound e-mails should be scanned for known threats and should block any attachment types that could pose a threat.
  6. Do make sure that all systems and software are up-to-date with relevant patches. Exploit kits hosted on compromised websites are commonly used to spread malware. Regular patching of vulnerable software is necessary to help prevent infection.
  7. If traveling, alert your IT department beforehand, especially if you’re going to be using public wireless Internet. Make sure you use a trustworthy Virtual Private Network (VPN) when accessing public Wi-Fi.
Ransomware criminals often attack small and medium sized businesses. Among other cyber attacks, ransomware is one criminal activity that can be easily worked around with the above-mentioned solutions. Make sure you are taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself down the road!