This is a topic that I have covered before however security experts have warned that ransomware is the fastest growing form of computer virus. So I thought a back to basics explanation was in order.

Ransomware is a family of computer viruses attack your data either by scrambling it to an unreadable form or threatening to delete you are then requested to pay a ransom to access it.

Like other computer viruses, it usually finds its way onto a device by exploiting a security hole in vulnerable software or by tricking somebody into installing it. The number one cause is through email systems.

Ransomware source code is freely available and the return on investment is very high hence the rise in the problem.

Key points

Attackers are rarely identified

The encryption can’t be broken

Payment doesn’t always mean you get you data back surveys suggest the rate 1 in 4 don’t get their data back.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

The single biggest thing is to ensure your data is backed up at regular intervals so if you’re attacked your files can be returned to a previous version prior to the attack. Ensure all staff carry out basic checks when using your email systems. Such as checking the email address is the same as the sender’s name sometimes an email states it’s from “John Smith” who you may know but the email has been changed perhaps. A quick scan for spelling and grammar mistakes can be an indication of a problem. Even if an email looks valid avoid instructions that are out of the ordinary.