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We Have Antivirus: How Does Ransomware Get On Your Computer At Work?


It’s the day you hoped and thought you’d never see. You did everything the correct way. Your employees received training. You patched your firewall. You made sure you had a trustworthy antivirus installed on your network. You took every precaution possible but there it is. Staring right at you and on every monitor in the office, a ransom note demanding you pay up so you can retrieve your files. You might have an antivirus installed on your network which you think is protecting you, so how does ransomware get on your computer anyway?

Ransomware Code

Source: Flickr

Whatever the reason, you have a ransomware infection and, as the senior manager, it’s your responsibility to fix this issue. Not to worry. A ransomware attack isn’t necessarily the end of the world but there are steps you or your IT team can take beforehand to prevent cybercrime. Check out this blog which features six great tips on how you can help your business stay protected.


How Ransomware Can Get On Your Computer

You need to be aware that your business is always at risk of a ransomware attack. That’s because there’s no 100% guaranteed defence right now. Even companies that spend thousands of pounds on their IT security are not completely immune. No system is entirely foolproof because 99.9% of the time, ransomware attacks are all because of human error.

If filtering has been installed, such as web and email filtering, then employees won’t even get these infected emails popping up in their inbox, or yours for that matter.

Malicious emails now look so genuine that it can be hard to identify whether a link featured in the email contains malware or not. So, training employees on this is your responsibility so they’re not continuing to click on links that lead to attackers demanding more and more money. It’s advised never to pay ransom either. As, by paying these criminals, they’re given an incentive which means they can develop better ransomware which will make it worse for other businesses.

Steps You Might Consider Taking

Downtime can cost you a lot of money, so you need to act quickly so employees can get back to work and you’ll avoid having to send them home. If you have a dedicated in-house IT team, now’s the time they need to show off why they were hired in the first place. The team can reboot the systems into safe mode, allowing them to troubleshoot the issues and navigate to the problem.

If you overlooked the next part when setting up your systems, now is the last chance at securing your data. It’ll be beneficial to download an anti-malware programme. The software scans the entire system or network to find the ransomware programme hidden away and the time-consuming scan will remove the malicious programme.

Sadly, that isn’t the end. Hopefully, you or your employees regularly back up the systems and data so that when it’s time to restore, you’re not having to start from scratch. The routine backup technique means that if the systems have been recovered from days to months ago and it’s still infected, you can fall back to the last quarterly or yearly backup. Having to access much older data might sound frustrating and you will lose some work, but at least all of the legacy files will still be intact and you can learn from the mistakes. If you have an outsourced team of cyber professionals, this is where their extra resources come in handy as they have servers working 24/7 which will backup your data at the end of each day, meaning they’d simply be able to roll-back your systems to 5pm the previous day, which may mean that you’ll lose no work at all.

But It’s Not The End Of The World

You can also download a reliable antivirus software, but don’t be cheap. Do some research on which software matches your company's needs and find the perfect one - it might even be a collection of high-level programmes rather than just the first link you found on Google. Regularly updating software also means attackers have less of a chance of taking advantage of the lack of security, especially since cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated, so things shouldn’t be made too easy for them.

As the business owner, you might even laugh in the face of ransomware if you have a disaster recovery strategy in place, as all of the data is backed up on the cloud or at an off-site server to keep it out of reach from being seized or destroyed. So if you are hit by ransomware even with an antivirus in place, you’ll know your data is securely stored elsewhere - even better if you’ve chosen to outsource your security as external companies can manage security 24/7.

HydraCrypt Ransomware Screen

Source: NJCCIC

You Have Antivirus Software...But That Isn’t Enough

Whilst ineffective antivirus tools and software might have put you off in the past, they’re still an important first line of defence for any business. Sadly, free antivirus isn’t the way to go about cyber defence as they are very limited in their capabilities and won’t be able to offer much protection if a massive ransomware attack is heading your way, so cybercrime prevention and control is necessary.

This world is constantly changing. While companies are busy formulating software to fight off even the most sophisticated of cyberattacks, the criminals are working just as hard around-the-clock to create new methods to breach defences. Even with expensive antivirus software, teams can forget to install regular security updates, which gives attackers a better window to swoop in and deploy ransomware and infect your systems.

Not only that, but software tends to get old quickly and by that time, attackers might have already created methods to dupe the antivirus into thinking it’s something safe, and then employees could be fooled into clicking a malicious attachment under the assumption that the software is there to keep the systems safe.

Antivirus software also only works by checking your entire system to see if it recognises the signature of a known virus so it can fight it off. With criminals creating fresh, new methods to launch vicious attacks, the antivirus software you have installed won’t be able to detect or protect you from any viruses it doesn’t know about.

The game is always changing, so you need to remain one step ahead.

Don’t Put Yourself Or Your Business In Danger

Being a victim of ransomware can be quite a daunting prospect, as you don’t expect to see an attacker demanding payment for data which you own. Sadly, ransomware is on the rise as criminals are beginning to see the many financial benefits of employing this strategy, and many businesses don’t know the relevant steps to take to remain protected.

It’s important you, your employees and your entire systems stay safe at all times. If you want to learn more about ransomware and how to prevent it from happening, download our free eBook:

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