Ransomware encrypts/blocks your data until a ransom is paid. It comes in many variants (such as CryptoLocker, Petya, and WannaCry) but it’s constantly evolving, making it very difﬁcult to protect against. And although the average amount of ransom requested is $4,300, the average cost of downtime from a single attack can be as high as $46,800.
So what should you do if you are hit by ransomware? Check out the below checklist to ensure you are taking the right steps:
Shut down infected systems immediately: To avoid ransomware spreading, disconnect the infected device from any network it is on and turn off any wireless capabilities such as WiFi or Bluetooth. Unplug any storage devices such as USB or external hard drives.
Determine the strain and the scope: Ransomware usually identiﬁes itself so understanding which strain it is can help you decide how to remove it. This is also helpful to know when reporting the attack. Next, determine how many devices were infected, as well as what kind of data was encrypted.
Report the incident: You should let your organization know about the attack but it’s also important to report it to the FBI or your local authorities depending on where you are located. This is to help them gain an understanding of ransomware and its impact on victims.
Evaluate your options: If you don’t have a backup solution, your other options are to do nothing (lose your data) or decrypt your ﬁles using a 3rd party decryptor. If all else fails, you can pay the ransom but beware of this option as it increases the chances that you’ll be targeted again.
Prevent future ransomware attacks: The ﬁrst step in preventing future ransomware attacks is to educate your employees on cybersecurity awareness. You should also invest in endpoint security with a ﬁrewall or third party service that protects against ransomware. Finally, you should implement a business continuity plan. While business continuity can’t prevent ransomware from attacking, it can prevent it from succeeding.