Ransomware Attack – How to Prevent

There has been an increase in ransomware attacks here in The Netherlands, mainly targeting SME and Startups. Our Tech Lead, Eduardo Elias Saleh, kindly wrote an internal memo detailing how we should prevent and protect ourselves from a ransomware attack.

“Security is not something we do once, it’s a culture.” – Eduardo

We thought that these tips could provide value to many more so we decided to share what Eduardo wrote. Here are some actions we need to take to avoid being victims of an attack:

Ransomware Attack: Definition

Ransomware is a type of a attack, a malware, where an hacker blocks a user’s access to their data, encrypting it and requesting a ransom for it to be unlocked and decrypted.

Never open unwanted attachments

Even when coming from a known person, avoid opening attachments that you don’t explicitly asked for. Known people contaminated by the virus can spread it and most of the times the emails are quite compelling. 

Backup everything

Not only because of the virus but because HDs (even SSDs) fail. Keep at least two up-to-date copies of the important documents you have in your possession in external drives.

Don’t download/execute apps you don’t know

Pirated, unofficial and non-commercial software can carry trojans. Only use/download/execute software that came from known reliable sources.

Q: “What should I do if I suffer a ransomware attack?”

This is a very complex answer. If you don’t have a backup of your data, either you pay or it’s gone.

The “politically correct” answer is: don’t pay, call the police and pray. But there’s nothing the police can do. It’s highly improbable they find the culprit and, even if they do, they won’t find the keys that encrypted your disk.

The only solution is to prevent and have a backup or pay. Otherwise, you just have to accept it’s all gone and move one.

Additional Security Measures

Strong password login: Only you should be able to have access to the data in your HD. In case someone gets physical access to it, it shouldn’t be easy to access the data.

Encrypt your storage: Doesn’t really matter if you have a login and password but your HD is not encrypted. If someone steals your machine and your HD is not encrypted they can remove the HD and grab the data from another computer.

You can chat with Eduardo in his linkedin.

Tykn is a digital identity company. We just launched Ana, a digital identity management platform that allows organisations to issue tamper-proof digital credentials which are verifiable anywhere, at any time. If you’re keen on reading more we suggest you check out our Definitive Guide to Identity Management with Blockchain and the Ultimate Beginners Guide to Self-Sovereign Identity.