Ransomware can be described as software created by hackers to steal sensitive data. When ransomware infects a computer, it displays a prompt requiring the individual or firm associated with the system to make a payment. Hackers behind ransomware typically claim that once the ransom is paid, the information seized would be released.
Even though health workers are struggling against the effects of COVID-19, cybercriminals have remained relentless in their efforts. They have attempted targeted attacks against healthcare providers.
Cyber-Attacks Emerging during COVID-19
INTERPOL, the International Criminal Police Organization, has sounded a warning to hospitals about increasing ransomware attacks. The multinational body stated that ransomware installation success on a hospital’s network could lead to a slowdown of medical response and destruction of data.
One of such successful attacks was conducted on Champaign-Urbana Public Health District in Illinois. When workers at the hospital were unable to access files on the computer, they notified the FBI.
This is not the first time cybercriminals have attacked medical institutions. In 2017, the ransomware known as WannaCry struck the UK’s National Health Service, costing the organization more than $100 million.
To protect your data from hackers, carefully read the steps below.
Deflecting Ransomware Attacks from your Device
1. Install Security Tools
An antivirus is a program designed to detect and remove malicious software on your system. This software works by sniffing out malicious codes and signatures of new programs on your computer.
However, there have been instances where antivirus software has failed to protect a device. Since antivirus works with detecting known malicious signatures, new malware could get in to infect your computer. It is because of this reason you need multiple layers of security.
Using a firewall would be beneficial as they’re considered the first line of defense between your computer and ransomware.
2. Organize Cybersecurity Awareness Seminars
Organize digital security classes for employees to educate them on spotting potential ransomware programs, and learning cybersecurity trends, etc. Workers that understand ways to detect ransomware and phishing attacks are less likely to fall victim to ransomware attacks.
Employees have to be trained on how to react when receiving email messages. First, an email should not be opened if the sender is unknown. Second, if a link or file is attached to the email, it should not be downloaded unless it is necessary. Third, the URL address of the link in the email would have to be verified before it’s clicked by hovering the arrow above the link.
Phishing and computer programs are the two most common ways to get ransomware onto a device.
3. Backup your Data
Since ransomware infects files on a computer system, if those files are backed up on another source, the malicious software would effectively become useless. Saving your data elsewhere would ensure ready access to those files, resulting in non-payment of ransoms.
You can decide to back up your data on an external hard drive or cloud storage. Note that all forms of backups come with different risks.
4. Install Software Updates
One of the ways hackers utilize to infect devices with ransomware is to exploit codes in software. IT teams behind computer programs and operating software work continually to patch vulnerabilities in their codes. Once a security update is made, it gets released to users.
When you install a software update immediately it becomes available, hackers find it more difficult to penetrate your system. You can set your computer’s settings to install OS updates automatically and check for software updates.
Ensure you delete unused programs and software that have not been updated in an extended period.
Cybercriminals have taken advantage of the pandemic situation all over the globe to make quick bucks. They’re increasingly attacking organizations with ransomware. This kind of malware that locks system data usually leads to loss of lives and money.
To protect your device from a ransomware attack, you can back up your data, educate workers, regularly install program updates, and purchase security tools.