Ransomware: What Is It and How Can You Avoid It?

These days, Internet scams and schemes have unfortunately become commonplace. As a result, it’s important to take measures to protect yourself and your personal information on the Web. When most people think of online security threats, they tend to think of malware, viruses and phishing of financial information. In recent years, however, a new type of online scheme has become increasingly common: ransomware.

medical ransomware

What Is Ransomware?

Essentially, ransomware refers to an attack in which a hacker gains access to a person’s device (computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.) and the files on it. From there, the files on the device are locked and unable to be accessed by the victim until he or she pays a certain dollar amount. Usually, the money is demanded within a certain period of time (typically around 24 hours). Otherwise, the files will be permanently locked, or, in some cases, the entire device may even be wiped of its files and data.

What Can You Do About It?

Avoiding a ransomware situation requires extra vigilance on your part. As always, you should only download and open files if you trust the source from which they’re coming. If you haven’t done so already, now is a good time to install a firewall and security platform on both your personal and business devices, so the files can be scanned for potential malware before you open them.

Furthermore, taking the time to back up your data as often as possible will also help to ensure that you don’t become a victim of ransomware. Unfortunately, without regular backups of your data, you really have no reliable way to get your files back following a ransomware situation (aside from paying the demanded amount of money). However, if your information is always backed up, then you can keep your money and still not have to worry about your files being completely lost.

With any-sized business, having a reliable file backup service is a must. All of your business devices and their relevant files should be backed up on a daily basis as part of your information technology efforts.

Understanding the Growing Trend

Unfortunately, ransomware doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon. As long people aren’t backing up their files and other data, hackers will continue to utilize this method to make some quick cash. Some hackers will focus their efforts on individuals; whereas, others may even go as far as to attack businesses and other organizations in an effort to take larger sums of money for ransom. For example, one study found that some ransomware hackers have turned to attacking medical organizations, obtaining access to very personal patient information. More than ever, then, it’s important for businesses to begin to take the right IT measures to protect and back up their information.

What would happen if your company were to become a victim of a ransomware attack right now? Would you be at risk of losing a lot of valuable or even confidential information? If you’re not confident that your organization would be unaffected by such an attack, then it may be time to re-assess your security and IT systems.

Centerpoint IT is the trusted choice when it comes to staying ahead of the latest information technology tips, tricks, and news. Contact us at (404) 781-0200 or send us an email at info@centerpointit.com for more information on how we can help you better protect your business from ransomware attacks and other security threats. Furthermore, you may want to do as I do, which is to back up your business data more frequently.