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Ransomware is a type of malicious software that can completely take over a computer or a handheld device. This type of malware can encrypt your files in a computer, making them impossible to access without the right key. Cyber criminals use this type of malware to demand ransoms in return for decryption passwords.

For businesses, ransomware can be a nightmare. Companies risk losing data permanently to this type of attack. Even if you pay off a criminal for the decryption password, there’s no guarantee that you will get the right key in return. Unfortunately, only the right password can decrypt a locked computer. It’s not possible to break into an encrypted device.

Ransomware sounds scare, as it should be. It can be extremely disruptive as well. Therefore, businesses should prioritise protecting all devices against this type of attack. Here’s what your company can do to reduce the risk of a ransomware attack:

Install Malware Protection

Antivirus protection software can detect malware threats on office computers. Ransomware is a type of malware that should be removed before it has the chance to encrypt a device. You can use a top-tier enterprise antivirus program to protect your devices against common types of malware.

Make sure you use a reliable antivirus program with good scores on independent tests. Avoid using free programs as these are highly unreliable and may actually put your device at more risk. You can contact a business cyber security specialist like Gridware for recommendations for Australian companies.

Instruct Employees Not to Send Personal Information over Emails

Past ransomware attacks indicate that criminals often trick victims into downloading the malware files. It’s common for the cybercriminal to pose as “someone from the IT department” to get the victim to send sensitive information that allows access to a device. Therefore, employees must know never to send passwords, usernames, or other such data over emails or text messages.

Make sure emails are secure so that actual messages from IT department are not ignored. Let employees know that legitimate IT workers never ask for passwords to be emailed.

Scan Emails for Viruses

Ransomware is commonly spread via emails. Spam or cleverly disguised emails may send links that unsuspecting victims click on. Therefore, your business must have well-secured internal emailing system that actively scans emails for malware.

Most commercial emails now offer this protection. However, for internal emails you may want to upgrade the cyber security architecture with better spam filtering and tougher anti-malware tools. 

Limit Downloads

Ransomware usually enter computers because of internet-enabled downloads. It’s very important that your employees know not to download anything off the internet or emails without proper verification. Use a secure cloud so that employees can access files without emailing downloads.

Employees should be trained to know how to spot problem emails and download prompts. Ransomware often tricks users into downloading. These may come disguised as legitimate files. Limiting and ideally prohibiting all online downloads is therefore highly recommended to reduce risk.

Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is notoriously vulnerable to hacking attacks. Therefore, your employees should never connect to the internet over public Wi-Fi networks. Give travelling employees access to a VPN that secures internet connections.

However, don’t use commercially available VPNs as some collect data. You can build an internal VPN just for the company or rely on an enterprise-grade VPN solution offered by a reliable service provider.

Protecting your business from ransomware isn’t that hard. But it’s very important to be aware and to be willing to implement rather simply solutions to avoid a disaster in the future.

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