Week 4 – Ransomware “Double Extortion” – 6 Things To Protect Yourself Now

Victims of ransomware attacks now face more headaches ahead. Increased numbers of ransomware bad actors are launching attacks threatening to publish compromised data from victims like yourself, adding additional pressure to pay the ransom demand. Cybercriminals are also threatening to use this data in future spam attacks if ransom demands are not met.

These are a few Dos and Don’ts that may help you:

  1. Do update and patch your operating systems, applications, and antivirus/antimalware software regularly. This is critically important. Regular patching of vulnerable software is necessary to help prevent infection.
  2. Do utilize content scanning and filtering on your email system. All inbound e-mails should be scanned for known threats and should block attachment types that could pose a potential threat.
  3. Use reputable antivirus/antimalware software and a firewall at home and at work. It is important to use antivirus/antimalware software from a reputable company, there are many fakes out there. Also maintain a strong firewall – home and work – to prevent cyber aggressors from entering your networks.
  4. Do backup and test restore your critical data and systems regularly. Identify the key applications and data to your work and personal life. Ensure you backup what is important on a regular basis. Test your restoration of these files, backups may sometimes be flawed.
  5. Do not provide personal information when answering an email, text message, instant message, or unsolicited phone call. Cyber aggressors will try to trick employees into installing malware or gain information for attacks by claiming to be from IT. Be sure to verify with your peers or coworkers if you receive suspicious messages or calls.
  6. Do not pay the ransom most law enforcement agencies agree. It only encourages and funds the cyber aggressors. Even if you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee you will regain access to your files.

According to a recent large study, every day at least 350,000 new malicious programs are detected. Antivirus statistics show significant growth in the number of viruses, with 17.7 million malware programs being detected during September 2019 alone.

Ransomware criminals often attack small and medium sized businesses as easy vulnerable targets. There are no work arounds for practicing safe cybersecurity hygiene. Please practice the above tips and add your own to keep you, your family, and business safe during these challenging times.