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What is Ransomware and How Can You Protect Your Network From It?

March 20th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Jordan Pioth

Worried Businessman looking at a laptop that says ransomware

Malicious actors and software can negatively affect your computer and damage your files.

Being a victim of a ransomware attack can cause hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars worth of damage and can put your computer out of commission.

Most organizations rely on computers but if you become a victim of a ransomware attack you will not be able to use your computers affected without paying hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.

Knowing what ransomware is and how to protect your computer from it will create better-secured files and data and avoid the consequences of an attack.

Coeo has helped thousands of customers with security and knows how important good security is to an organization.

We want to give you information on ransomware and how to protect your network from it so you can have a secure network and avoid being a victim of a cyberattack.

By the end of this article, you will know what ransomware is, the ways you can protect your computer and data from it, and what to do if you suspect you have been infected by a ransomware attack.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of malware that attacks your computer and encrypts your files or stops you from using your computer.

The attack locks your computer and files until you pay a ransom for them to be unlocked; hence the name ransomware.

Historically, most ransomware targeted a single personal computer.

Today, most human-driven ransomware attacks target multiple computers within an organization to attempt to extort larger sums of money from entities more capable of paying the ransom.

Some attackers are so sophisticated that they can go through your company’s documents and, based on company financial documents, set a specific price based on your organization’s financial strength.

Ways you can protect your computer and data from ransomware attacks

There are multiple ways your organization can protect your computers, files, and data from ransomware attacks. These practices and ways to secure your computers will prevent the consequences of ransomware attacks.

●      Visiting unsafe websites

Your organization should already have something in place to prevent visits to unsafe websites such as URL filtering. If you don’t have this in place, being cautious when visiting websites is very important.

If you visit a suspicious site and click on the wrong link you can accidentally become a victim of a ransomware attack or a victim of another form of malware.

●      Opening malicious links or attachments in an email

Sometimes you may see an email from an unknown source containing a link or other kind of attachment. Clicking on that link or attachment could initiate a ransomware attack.

Additionally, some emails may look like they come from people in your contact list. For example, you may see an email from a coworker but it may actually be a malicious email.

Making sure to check the actual email address before opening it is important. The malicious source will not have the same email address as your coworker or employee whose email it looked like it came from.

Additionally, these malicious links and attachments can also be found on social media posts.

Most social media posts and emails won’t look quite right if it is malicious. Examples of this are misspelled words or unusual spacing, symbols, or punctuation.

Making sure to look out for these signs in emails will help you determine if the email is malicious.

●      Install an antimalware program

An antimalware program will allow you to combat not only ransomware attacks but any other type of malware. Many different malware attacks can be detected and blocked with a trusted antimalware service.

When using an antimalware program, your device will first scan files or links that you attempt to open. If a file or link is sent to you and scanned as malicious, the program will alert you and suggest you not open it.

●      Update your devices regularly

If your devices are not up to date with the latest software, you may have vulnerabilities that ransomware or other malware can penetrate.

Making sure your devices are up to date will ensure your security is also up to date. Doing this will help you avoid being a victim of ransomware or other malware attacks.

What to do if you suspect of being a victim of a ransomware attack

Now you know what a ransomware attack is and how to protect yourself against them. However, what should you do if you suspect you’ve been the victim of a ransomware attack?

If ransomware has entered your device, you typically will not know it until you see a notification demanding money to regain access to your computer, data, and files.

The first step to try to combat the attacker is to fully clean out your PC. You can try backing up and restoring your PC to regain access to your computer.

The most important thing to do is not to pay the attacker to regain access to your computer and files. Even if you were to pay the ransom, you may not regain access to your computer and data from the attacker.

Make sure to report the scam to authorities and the government cyberattack reporting sites.  

Next steps to secure your organization against ransomware

Now you know what ransomware is, the ways you can protect your company against ransomware attacks, and what to do if you suspect ransomware penetration. This will help you combat ransomware and better secure your devices.

No one wants to be a victim of a ransomware or malware attack. If you do not know what ransomware is or how to secure your devices to avoid a ransomware attack, you could become a victim of ransomware.

Coeo has helped thousands of customers with their security and knows how important it is to have good security. We want to help you improve your security so you can avoid being a victim of ransomware or other forms of malware.

If you would like to speak with our team to talk about ransomware or ask any questions you may have you can schedule an appointment. TALK TO AN EXPERT

Read these articles below to learn more about ransomware and any other malicious software:

Jordan Pioth

When he's not creating content for Coeo, Jordan loves to watch sports, hang out with friends and family, and anything sneaker-related.