Ransomware attacks can be a nightmare for any company, for many different reasons. At the very least it’s an inconvenience; at worst it’s incredibly expensive and time-consuming to deal with. The very best advice when it comes to ransomware is to deal with it proactively and prevent it from happening in the first place.
Naturally, this isn’t always possible since the ransomware criminals are always thinking up new and better ways to get to your files. But dealing with ransomware removal involves more than just having certain software on your computer system. When an attack does occur, here are four things that it’s important to remember.
1. Deal with the Infected Device First
The first thing to do is disconnect the affected device from all connections, both wired and wireless. This includes the Internet, mobile devices, external hard drives, cloud storage accounts, and all others. This prevents the ransomware from spreading to other devices. You then need to check all of your devices to determine if the ransomware has spread to any of them.
If the ransom has not yet been demanded, make sure you remove the malware from the system immediately. If you have received a demand, it’s best not to pay the ransom. In all cases, you have to be careful dealing with the perpetrators, but even the FBI recommends not paying the ransom.
2. Try to Determine the Exact Type of Ransomware
There are many different strains of ransomware, and it’s a lot easier to know what to do next if you know which strain has infected your computers. Ransomware removal involves either trusting an experienced security professional to ascertain the situation or utilizing a software tool that can help you determine the exact strain being used. When you choose the latter, it can be free or require a paid subscription, but it’s worth it either way because of what it can do to help you get rid of the ransomware.
3. Always Remove the Ransomware
Don’t put any type of recovery tools in place before removing the ransomware because this is the most important step. When your computer is hacked, the ransomware software will infect a system then either encrypt all of your files or lock access to the system itself, both of which are disastrous. When this happens, you’ll need either a password or a decryption key in order to unlock or decrypt the restriction.
You can remove ransomware in several ways, including:
- Use anti-malware or anti-ransomware to quarantine and remove the malicious software
- Remove the ransomware manually by looking for what has recently been installed and removing the ransomware file
- Ask security professionals to help you
- Check to see if it’s a type of ransomware that automatically deletes itself after the system is infected
Regardless of how you end up removing the ransomware, you should have your IT department perform a scan of the device just to make sure no remnants of the ransomware are left behind. They can make sure that the device is thoroughly cleaned before you go any further.
4. Always Recover the System
You can recover the system by restoring a previous version of the OS that you used before the attack occurred. This is why regular backing up of your devices is so important. Make sure that the backups themselves were not locked or encrypted, then restore them using the System Restore function. Naturally, files you’ve created after you last backed up the system will not be recovered.
When you’re done with the ransomware removal, update all of your passwords and security access codes and check to make sure all of your anti-malware software and firewall rules are up to date. If you have to, go ahead and replace your security software with other more effective software.