Use free software and resources
You don’t even have to spend any money to get protection from ransomware, though. There are plenty of free tools out there that’ll identify and remove threats. Take, for example, Kaspersky’s Anti-Ransomware Tool for Business. Designed to work with most security software on the market, this free tool will identify key ransomware behaviour patterns and protect Windows-based endpoints.
As well as utilities that can identify ransomware and prevent it affecting your systems, you can also get tools to attempt to reverse the effects of ransomware. If you end up experiencing an attack and your data becomes encrypted, Avast’s free ransomware decryption tools are worth checking out. Data can be encrypted in different ways, and Avast has provided a detailed explanation of how different types of ransomware work along with appropriate solutions.
Once you’ve downloaded one of the tools, you’ll need to provide a copy of the original file, as well as the encrypted one. The software will then analyse those files and try to work out a decryption method. Trend Micro offers a similar tool, and it can identify 26 different types of ransomware.
Other potential tactics you can try include booting from your Windows disc (as opposed to the hard drive) and then attempting a ‘repair’ on your operating system. (See here for more details on this).
You should do some research as well. Organisations such as Get Safe Online provide free online resources to help you learn about the threats posed by ransomware and how to avoid them. Online security firms like Kaspersky also provide significant resources on this topic, from blog posts to YouTube videos.
As a general point, bear in mind that if you are thinking of paying the ransom, there’s no guarantee that when you hand the money over, the criminals in question will send you the key to decrypt your files. We discuss this at much greater length in our feature: Should you ever pay up to ransomware criminals?
Have a strategy in place
As with any aspect of IT and business in general, planning is key to success. Ransomware is a common threat in the business world, and so it makes sense to have some form of strategy in place to deal with this menace. For instance, you could create a set of guidelines explaining what ransomware is, and how employees can identify any threats.
If you have a significant security budget, you may also want to look into setting up an incident response team. A dedicated team of security experts will be able to counter threats and hopefully prevent them from occurring in the first place, but even if the worst still happens, they can decide which systems to take down to prevent the infection from spreading. Alternatively, you can hire a security company to defend your network in such a manner.
Ransomware is a major threat these days, as we’ve seen very recently, but with the right planning and preparation, you can stay ahead of the game.
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Nicholas Fearn is a freelance technology journalist and copywriter from the Welsh valleys. His work has appeared in publications such as the FT, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, The Next Web, T3, Android Central, Computer Weekly, and many others. He also happens to be a diehard Mariah Carey fan!