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What steps can you take to avoid becoming a victim to ransomware and cyber attacks?

The threat of cyber-attacks against UK businesses is growing, we are seeing an increasing number of customers being affected by ransomware attacks which is having catastrophic consequences to the running of their organisations.It is important to be aware of what the threat is, and how you and you business can best act to prevent an attack.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to encrypt and block access to your data, until a sum of money is paid. Even if the ransom request is met, the criminals have no reason to release your data. In reality, this means that if you are infected by ransomware the only cure is to restore your files from your latest backup. If your backups run overnight, the best-case scenario will be that you lose a day’s work, and face downtime whilst your data is recovered.

Ransomware software is becoming more and more sophisticated, making it very difficult for basic antivirus products to detect this malicious threat.

The majority of ransomware is delivered via a fraudulent “phishing” email, which claims to be from a reputable brand, typically a shipping, banking or invoice notice from a company you often deal with. They are designed to encourage you to click a link or download an attachment, at which point the ransomware software will begin infiltrating your network.

Rules to remember

  1. NEVER click a link within an email or open an attachment if:

a) The sender is unknown to you

b) You are unsure whether the email is legitimate (i.e. you weren’t expecting an invoice)

  1. If an email appears to be from an organisation you are used to dealing with, and requests that you log into your customer portal via a link DO NOT CLICK THE LINK. Instead, use your internet browser to navigate to the relevant portal or online account.
  2. Always veer on the side of caution, if you receive any email which gives you doubts – please call Activ and we can investigate and confirm. It is much better to be safe than sorry in these situations!
What to do if you suspect you have clicked a malicious link or downloaded a virus attachment
  1. Shut your computer down completely. If your PC isn’t responding quickly, remove the power cable – the longer your computer is switched on, the more damage it can do to your data.
  2. Remove the network cable from the back of your PC (this is the cable which connects you to the internet) – this will prevent the virus spreading onto other computers within your network, and potentially limit the damage.
  3. Call Activ who will investigate and provide further support.

Protection from Ransomware

  1. Back ups

Having secure backups is the only way you can restore your data if you were to suffer an attack. By having an off-site backup, you can protect your back-ups becoming infected by the ransomware software.

  1. High end antivirus protection

Currently, the only product on the market which Activ would recommend to provide the most effective protection against ransomware specifically is SOPHOS Endpoint Advanced and InterceptX. Whilst there is no guarantee that these products can prevent all phishing emails entering your inbox, they offer by far the best protection in comparison to other desktop antivirus products.

 

Example phishing email

As ransomware attacks are becoming more and more common, you need to know what to look out for to avoid becoming their next victim.

example phishing email from ransomware attacks

An example of an phishing email

What to look out for

The email sender

The email address shows that the domain is not O2, but instead a domain called “mosopor”. Delete the email immediately as the email has been sent from an untrusted source.

Invitation to click weblink

The link appears to be from a trusted source, O2. However, it is vital that you do not click this link and instead navigate to the requested portal and log in to your account using an internet browser. If you click on the link, the virus will begin to attack your machine.

Contact Activ today to find out more.

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