Just about everyone has heard of ransomware by now. If your computer contracts it, your files will be locked and unavailable until you pay a ransom in Bitcoin, after which you might get the decryption key to unlock your files and access them.  Sound scary? It is. Ransoms can range from 500 to several million dollars depending on how many computers are compromised.  Here’s what to do to protect yourself and your company. 

  • First and foremost, back up your computers in full – not just your docs, but EVERYTHING. 
  • Your backups must be disconnected from your computer and network or the ransomware can attack them just as well as the files on your computer. 
  • Update your software at least every two weeks if not more frequently. This means ALL of your software, not just your operating system. 
  • Install an appliance-based firewall. This is a box that connects to your Internet router or modem and adds additional protection from the Internet. 
  • Implement strong email spam filtering.
  • Install the best ransomware protection software on the market. According to PC Magazine, there are four top products to choose from:
    • Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
    • Check Point ZoneAlarm Anti-Ransomware
    • Webroot SecureAnywhere
    • Cybersight RansomStopper
  • If you are infected with ransomware:

 Home users: immediately contact your local FBI office or local U.S. Secret Service office to request assistance.

 Organizations: immediately report ransomware incidents to your IT helpdesk or security office. 

PC Magazine ransomware protection review: https://www.pcmag.com/roundup/353231/the-best-ransomware-protection  

Notable Ransomware Attacks of 2019: https://www.allot.com/blog/10-ransomware-attacks-2019/ 

 In July and August 2019, ransomware attacks targeted line-of-business websites used by groups of companies causing large numbers of computers to be impacted at one time. One such example affected 22 Texas municipalities. Another targeted hundreds of dental offices.  

22 Texas Towns Hit With Ransomware: https://www.npr.org/2019/08/20/752695554/23-texas-towns-hit-with-ransomware-attack-in-new-front-of-cyberassault 

Ransomware hits hundreds of dentist offices in the US: https://www.zdnet.com/article/ransomware-hits-hundreds-of-dentist-offices-in-the-us/  

If you’re unsure of how to protect yourself, you should consult an expert.