Ransomware attacks: Don't be like Bryan

Steve Sutcliffe
By Steve Sutcliffe
Many of you will no doubt be familiar with the now infamous threat Liam Neeson’s character Bryan Mills makes to his daughter’s captors in the 2008 blockbuster, Taken:
Ransomware attacks: Don't be like Bryan

“I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have is a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”

Fast forward to 2016, and hundreds of thousands of businesses are being held to ransom by cyber attackers using ransomware to prevent them accessing vital IT systems and applications until a ransom is paid. From government agencies and large corporations to smaller businesses, targets are broad-ranging, and attacks are on the increase.

So what can you do if you find yourself at the mercy of a ransomware attack? We wouldn’t advocate adopting the Bryan Mills approach; instead here are some dos and dont's from our technical support lead, Mohammed Shah:

DO:

  • Report any attack to your IT administrator straight away.

DON’T:

  • Provide any credit card, debit card or bank account details if asked.
  • Give out any personal information to the attacker, such as your name, address, phone numbers or passwords.
  • Visit any online banking site if your machine has had a ransomware attack, as some ransomware attackers can install hidden key logging software which lets them see the keys you type to access services such as online banking and emails.
  • Share any files to other machines if your machine has been compromised, as this may lead to more computers becoming infected.
  • Transfer funds to ransomware attackers. Some attackers ask for bitcoins (online currency) for the release of your data, but this could lead to data being encrypted again with further demands for payment.
  • If important data has been compromised by ransomware, such as crypto locker, it’s important that you have a valid data backup, from which you can restore your machine, remove the ransomware infection and then restore the data to your machine.

For more information about effective online security, data backups and protecting your business from security breaches, contact us.

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