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Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important with the prevalence of ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that hackers design to exploit vulnerabilities within an infrastructure, hold data for “hostage” and demand compensation for its release usually in the form of Bitcoin. It works by encrypting documents across networks or an individual desktop and has been highly effective due to several factors, including low security awareness and weakness in security.

Ransomware doesn’t have to be limited to large enterprises, either. Ransomware attacks have affected hospitals, schools and even charities, and has morphed into a billion-dollar industry, according to eWeek. A CyberEdge Group study also highlighted that this type of malicious software compromised 61 percent of organizations across 15 countries alone. With this type of presence and capability to do financial damage, it’s important to have a plan in place to avoid these malicious attacks. Here are a few aspects to consider:

How Can Ransomware Be Prevented?

The best way to avoid ransomware is by putting prevention best practices into use. There are several ways accomplish this, too. Here are some ways to get it done:

Train your employees. Without proper training, your employees can be a weak spot that hackers can exploit. That’s because a breach is as easy to accomplish as an employee clicking a link that he may not realize is fake or malicious. Avoid ransomware attacks by training your employees on ransomware identification techniques, including how to spot vulnerabilities and safety precautions to take, such as changing their passwords frequently and using two-step authentication.

Update your software on a regular basis. It’s important to keep your software updated with the latest security enhancements. Minimize the breach of your infrastructure by taking advantage of automatic security updates.

Leverage experts. When you don’t have the right setup or expertise on your staff, it can be challenging to deter ransomware attacks. However, you can still get the help you need by leveraging expertise from IT companies, such as GXA. IT companies can help you put together a contingency plan to prevent ransomware attacks. Moreover, they can assist you with training employees, too.

What If It’s Too Late?

If you’re already a victim of ransomware, you don’t want to panic. Instead, take the necessary steps to recover from the attack. As soon as you discover your computer has fallen victim to a ransomware attack, disconnect it from all external drives, networks or other computers that it may be connected to in order to isolate the attack to one device. Take a picture of the ransom note with your mobile phone or a camera so that you have evidence when you file a police report.

Also, avoid paying the ransom. There is no guarantee that you will get your money back. Try to remove the ransomware from your device by using anti-malware or antivirus software and use tools to recover any deleted files if possible. Get your IT department or consultant involved to handle the issue. When the issue is resolved, make sure you review protocols, including how you back up a files and any infrastructure vulnerabilities.

Final Thoughts

Avoiding ransomware calls for preparation and making smart decisions. From training employees to updating software automatically on a consistent basis, your team has several options for deterring a ransomware attack. Also, consider taking advantage of the expertise of a professional IT team with experience in ransomware attacks and cybersecurity protocols, such as GXA. GXA helps clients reduce their infrastructure vulnerabilities to mitigate ransomware attacks by applying several best practices, including devising a cybersecurity plan that’s modernized and providing data and network security. By having a plan in place, you can keep ransomware attacks at bay.