Recovering from Ransomware without a Decryption Key

Ransomware is the most predominate threat among virus that are used to attack business systems. Incidents in 2016 cost businesses billions of dollars worldwide, with predictions of increasing numbers in the future. An email that appears harmless encrypts files and data as soon as it is opened. Businesses must pay a ransom for the decryption key that restores their systems and destroys the virus. There are a few problems that arise when businesses pay what is demanded. The first problem is that payment encourages more attacks. Criminals get more successful, and the incidents increase at an alarming rate.

Another problem with payment is some cyber criminals see that as a willingness to get data back quickly. They may demand a second or third payment, which costs more money and delays the restoration of data. The business is losing on several fronts because it is making payments, has had to cease doing business, and increases the likelihood of encrypted data being damaged when restored. The best way to recover from ransomware is to call experts who have successfully eradicated the virus and fully restored business data. While awaiting their arrival on-site, isolate infected machines, disconnect them from the network, and close down any shared networks to contain the damage. It is important to keep in mind there is always a risk of damaged files, but acting quickly will minimize that risk.

Steps to prevent an attack are simple and cost-effective when compared to the costs of an attack. Vulnerabilities and weak spots in the system increase as technology advances. Having a risk assessment completed on an annual basis will alert owners to any security weaknesses in the systems. Recommendations can be made to improve security and better protect the business. Employee training regarding ways to recognize “phishing” emails and internet security will reduce the risk of exposure to viruses. Altering policies that limit access to files, prohibit accessing business information on personal devices, and requiring a secondary method of backing up data are also steps that can be taken to improve security and drastically reduce the chances of an attack. Protect business data, files, and customer information by being proactive instead of reactive.