What Every IT Pro Should Know About Ransomware
As an IT professional, your employer’s cybersecurity should always be front of mind. Whether you’re in charge of a complex network with hundreds of endpoints, or you oversee a handful of devices in a growing company, you’re constantly at risk of hackers stealing your data and extorting you to get it back.
Making use of ransomware, or ransom malware, these bad actors withhold access to your files or get you to share sensitive information, and then hold it over your head for a price. The consequences to your job and personal identity could be devastating.
This is why it pays to remind yourself of the basics of online safety to stay a step ahead of cybercrime. While these suggestions may seem like plain old common sense, they’re easy to let fall by the wayside, opening you up to viruses wreaking havoc on your computer. Here’s what you need to do — and avoid doing — to stay ahead of the game.
- Download an exceptional antivirus software program that not only specializes in ransomware remediation and removal but has the capacity to prevent viruses before they take hold of your system.
- Make sure your antivirus software comes equipped with anti-exploit technology that will identify weaknesses in your system and protect you from hackers looking to take advantage of them. A company like Malwarebytes—who offers one of the best Mac antivirus programs around—is a leader in the field with product offerings that use machine learning to recognize and neutralize the newest threats.
- Back up your files in case you suffer a cyberattack and need to get your system back into good working order. It may sound tedious to research cloud or external hard-drive providers for the purpose, but it will save you dozens of working hours when an unexpected virus strikes.
When it comes to ransomware and things to avoid, it’s your awareness that will make the difference between safely navigating online and internal company data falling into the wrong hands.
- Don’t fall for social engineering, which is when an email appeals to your emotions with the intention of getting you to send money, disclose passwords, or install malware on your device. Call your co-worker, manager, friend, or relative to make sure they’re actually in distress before sharing information or wiring them any of your hard-earned dollars.
- Refrain from paying any ransom, because that will only encourage hackers to continue making your little corner of cyberspace an unsafe place to do business. Even if you did pay, what’s stopping them from running off with your money?
- Do your best to not procrastinate on system updates. They prevent your software from falling out of date and becoming vulnerable to ransomware attacks. Push through that annoying full-system restart in the middle of your work day, even if it’s just for a few patches on your OS, and you’ll be doing your part to keep cyberthreats at bay.
While the points in this article aren’t exhaustive, they’re a solid foundation about how to identify and react to ransomware when it rears its ugly head. Be strict about practicing them day in and day out and you’ll give your company the best chance at thriving in spite of cybercrime.
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