2021 Ransomware Assistance and Prevention Tips

#TechTipTuesday

Ransomware is a hot topic–if you haven’t yet fallen victim, you’re at least aware  of the risks. Ransomware affects millions of victims each year, and yet, it’s often preventable. Thanks to Europol’s No More Ransom initiative (source), over four million ransomware attack victims have avoided paying ransom, amounting to $600 million saved in ransom demands. Let’s talk about the free decryption tools heavily responsible for these savings.

Since launching four years ago, the No More Ransom initiative has enabled over four million victims of ransomware attacks to retrieve their files for free, meaning they were not forced to pay a ransom demand to secure sensitive data. No More Ransom is partnered with 163 partners across law enforcement, cybersecurity, financial services and more. With the help of these partners, the initiative has released free decryption tools for over 140 families of ransomware. The tools have been downloaded over 4.2 million times in total, with an estimated $632 million saved from being paid to cyber criminals in ransom payments. 

Sounds pretty great, right? While it is an amazing feat, try reading it like this: four million people failed to follow cybersecurity best practices and needed to be bailed out or they’d lose their data forever, or at least have to pay large ransoms.

Not as appealing, is it? While efforts by groups like No More Ransom and other cybersecurity efforts are encouraging, ransomware is still the key vehicle for cyber criminals looking to make money. 

Let’s talk more about prevention. Prevention seems to be a basic concept, but when four million people fail at basic security, it’s obviously still a topic worth covering.

Do These 4 Things to Prevent Paying Ransom: 

  1. Apply all security updates to PCs and network devices routinely. When a device is no longer supported by its manufacturer and stops receiving security updates, retire it. 
  2. Adopt a culture of communication skepticism. An unexpected email, text, call asking you to do something new? Contact them via a known good method and double check. 
  3. Invest in a qualified IT security team (like PK Tech) that subscribes to the layered approach to security.
  4. Don’t pay the ransom – always contact your insurance company first, IT security team second. Read our related blog: What To Do If You Get CryptoLocker Ransomware Attacked.

Whether you have been victim to a ransomware attack or not, make sure you are working with a professional and qualified IT security team. If we can help, or answer questions, reach out to us here

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