What are Ransomware Attacks?

Ransomware is a type of malware attack that threatens to publish or destroy a victim’s sensitive data in return for a requested fee. It has the ability to access and lock a computer screen and its files by enabling password-protected software from any location in the world. The only way to regain access is to pay the set ransom.

How They Work
The most common form of ransomware attack is phishing scams. These are targeted emails that deceive users into clicking and downloading software disguised as secure attachments. Once the attachment has been downloaded, the malware can immediately encrypt some or all of the user’s data. The user will know their system has been compromised through a message demanding the ransom and explaining data. The only way to regain access to your original files is through the password known only by the attacker. If you choose to remove the malware, as opposed to paying the ransom, your files will be lost.

There are a variety of cybersecurity measures that can protect you from ransomware. Organizations who store data online should choose proven antivirus software to protect it against cyber attackers. Share these tips with any employees using your network or storing data.

1. Maintain up-to-date security software to protect your data against threats
2. Update your operating system frequently to patch exposures
3. Be wary of unusual email attachments from unfamiliar sources
4. Back up sensitive data to an external hard drive

Knowing what ransomware is can help protect your important data from being compromised. Recognizing your organization’s specific exposures can be the difference in surviving an attack or losing your data forever. Contact TCE to assess your current risk.