Virtually unheard of even a few short years ago, ransomware has quickly become a multi-billion dollar industry for criminals. Ransomware viruses encrypt the files stored on computers they infect, keeping these unreadable until a payment of a specified size has been sent by the victim. When a ransomware infection strikes a business’s computers, operations can easily grind to a halt, with money being lost for every minute through which important files remain locked away. While there are often effective ways of recovering from such problems other than by paying the criminals who created them, arranging for effective ransomware protection tends to be worthwhile, as well.
As with any other form of danger to digital data, regular, comprehensive backups can help. What makes ransomware seem so devastating, in many cases, is simply that the files which are encrypted represent the only recent, available copies. With some companies therefore facing the prospect of losing weeks’ or even months’ worth of work, paying even a fairly large ransom can seem preferable.
Backups that are made regularly, rotated in appropriate ways, and which cover all the files whose loss could be costly, on the other hand, can in and of themselves greatly reduce the magnitude of this threat. In some cases, a company’s infected computers can simply be restored from recent backups by a professional after the root cause of the issue has been identified and dealt with. Should backups be made regularly enough, that could mean losing only a tiny bit of work or even none at all.
While backups therefore offer an impressive amount of protection, particularly relative to how affordable and easy to arrange for they can be, a bit of common sense can do the same. The vast majority of ransomware infections today result when workers open up email attachments that are disguised as either business-related documents or ones designed to provoke personal interest. Being sure that workers are aware of the related dangers can make it much less likely that a ransomware attack will ever hit the mark. Likewise can anti-virus programs and those designed to guard against other forms of malware sometimes catch even recently developed strains of ransomware in the act of striking.