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What to Do if Your Computer is Compromised With Ransomware

published 8/25/2021

Protecting your company data is more important than ever before. To clarify, experts have deduced that the cybercrime industry will be worth over $10 trillion by 2025.

As you might guess, much of this data will come from compromised business information.

In context, ransomware is one of the most common types of malware that hackers use during data breaches. Let's take a look at what to do if you find your computer has become infected.

What Is Ransomware?

As the name suggests, this type of malware involves preventing users from accessing key information, essentially holding it for ransom. To make matters worse, the hacker then demands a form of payment in cryptocurrency.

While this may not seem overtly malicious at first, it can cause a large number of different complications.

For instance, a business that is not able to use its devices effectively could experience a significant amount of downtime. This could easily translate into tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

There's also no guarantee that the hacker will provide access to the critical files they compromised.

How Does It Work?

As previously mentioned, ransomware aims to stop users from accessing certain data. Hackers are able to achieve this by encrypting the data in question, making it entirely unusable.

More often than not, a computer becomes infected as a result of downloading an attachment from a suspicious email or website. However, an infection can also occur if a USB device with malware on it is inserted into a computer.

Due to the way ransomware is spread, hackers use a large amount of social engineering in order to maximize the number of victims. This means they research the best ways to get people to open unsolicited emails, click on false advertisements, etc.

More advanced versions of the software are able to exploit common security flaws within computers to minimize the amount of human contact they require.

What Does an Attack Look Like?

Part of what makes a ransomware attack so intimidating is how abruptly it occurs. To elaborate, nothing may be out of the ordinary at first before a screen appears on one of your computers.

The UI of these windows is often specifically designed to instill fear. They may use bold, red text, skull imagery, etc.

You will then find that you can't access many (or all) of your key files.

You will then be asked to provide a certain amount of money in cryptocurrency in order to regain access to your data. This form of payment is chosen since it is virtually impossible to track under most circumstances.

In the event that you do not pay the ransom, you may never regain access to your data. However, as we mentioned before, paying money to the hacker does not guarantee that you will.

From here, the attack is more or less over. It's important to note that a device that has been infected with this type of malware could transmit the virus to other devices within the same network.

So, it's essential that you immediately disconnect from the Internet. You should also run a comprehensive virus scan on every other device that was using the same network as the infected computer.

The FBI also recommends against paying the ransom. This money will undoubtedly be used to facilitate future attacks, thereby putting others at risk.

How Can I Recover My Information?

Under normal circumstances, it's virtually impossible to regain access to key information. This is particularly true for small businesses, many of which do not have the necessary tools to do so.

However, there are steps that you can take to regain access to your data.

Working with a professional company is the most viable option. These are equipped with teams of specialists that have all of the required knowledge to help overcome the obstacles the hacker has placed.

When searching for a company to work with, consider their past reputation. You want to ensure that you regain access to your information as soon as possible, meaning that you should prioritize companies that have a proven track record.

How Can I Protect Myself in the Future?

Preventing a ransomware attack is much easier than recovering from one. Fortunately, implementing a few key measures can go a long way when it comes to protecting your company.

First and foremost, you should consistently back up your company data in multiple locations. This includes physical hard drives, cloud storage, etc.

In the event that you cannot regain access to your data, you can simply restore it from a recent backup.

Additionally, you should ensure that your team has been appropriately trained on how to recognize potential threats.

For instance, a hacker might send a company-wide email posing as a member of the IT team or as an executive. Your employees should be able to quickly recognize whether or not the email is legitimate.

With these safeguards in place, you will drastically reduce the chances that you encounter complications in the future.

Handling a Compromised Device Can Seem Overwhelming

The good news is that the above guide has all the information you need to know about managing a compromised computer. From here, you'll be able to take steps toward recovering your infected files and getting back on track.

Want to learn more about what we have to offer? Feel free to get in touch with us today and see how we can help.