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In a September 16 alert, the FBI warned of ransomware variants that are more frequently targeting highly-vulnerable business servers and how they are like a focused virus, looking for big servers without adequate security defenses. The law enforcement agency also noted that the number of compromised network servers and devices have drastically multiplied, via more target-specific attacks. Even with the huge spike in ransomware attacks, only 600 FBI agents are available right now to investigate ransomware attacks, which can only cover a portion of the attacks. This means we all have to play a bigger part in preventing ransomware attacks.
Don’t Pay the Ransom, Says the FBI
Instead of complying with cybercriminals who only gain more leverage and confidence with every ransomware payoff, the FBI has officially informed ransomware victims not to pay the ransom. Instead, says the agency, contact your local FBI office and/or file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov. Don’t pay the ransom. There is no guarantee that paying it will even return you your data files. There are documented cases where organizations have paid to get the decryption key and were ignored. Paying the ransom only emboldens and aids cybercriminals in their exploits. The FBI does, however, recognize and understand instances where executives weighed the cost of having inoperability issues vs. the relatively low cost of a ransom note request (roughly $600 on average).
The FBI asks that ransomware victims provide the following details regarding your experience, where applicable:
How to Prevent a Ransomware Attack
First, you will want to implement cyber safety education and awareness policies in the workplace. It has been shown that a more well-educated and aware office staff will be far less likely to click on questionable links such as those embedded in email phishing schemes that routinely dole out ransomware exploits. Having effective cybersecurity policies in the workplace that are strictly followed will also greatly reduce the chances of a ransomware attack. This is, of course, in addition to the antivirus and firewall security technology you will also want to have in place.
Frequently backing up your data is among the best ways to avoid ransomware attacks. With effective backup measures implemented, you can more confidently ignore ransomware demands and encryptions. Always have backups in place that aren’t attached to PCs or networks. Malware and viruses can even infiltrate data files that are backed-up via cloud servers (known as “persistent synchronization”), so store at least one complete backup of your entire data network on a completely network-disconnected machine or device.
You’ll also want to:
Ransomware Quick Facts
Contact an IT Expert for Greater Cybersecurity Assurance
If you need further advice about ransomware prevention and cyber safety awareness and security, ClearPath IT Solutions is a proven leader in providing IT consulting and cybersecurity in Central Illinois. Contact one of our IT experts at (309) 263-5600 or send us an email at sales@clearpathIT.com today, and we can help you with all your cyber safety, defense, and security questions or needs.