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A ransomware attack is when a hacker takes hold of your system’s data—encrypting them, so you lose access to it. Criminals usually target large-scale enterprises and demand managers to pay a huge sum to unlock the system and regain access.

As of 2021, four out of five organizations (80%) have suffered from ransomware attacks, and this figure proves that it’s a growing threat across all industries.

Financial institutions, healthcare centers, and telcos can suffer the most from an attack since they handle huge loads of sensitive data. If you’re a manager of one of the institutions listed above, it’s paramount to understand different attack methods to know how to protect against ransomware effectively.

4 Main Ransomware Attack Methods

Just like other forms of cybercrime, ransomware can be encrypted into:

1. Phishing Attacks

According to a report by IBM, phishing was the top infection vector in 2021. Cybercriminals send emails disguised as legitimate to convince you to click on an unsafe link to download a malicious file. The infected file usually comes in a common file type and installs ransomware once opened. 

2. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Vulnerabilities

IT administrators use RDP to help employees fix technical problems remotely. Cybercriminals can brute-force their way into their target computers running an RDP if it isn’t secure, allowing them to access the system and encrypt data. 

3. Accessing Infected Websites 

Malicious code embedded in websites can automatically download ransomware onto your computer without you knowing it. These are known as “drive-by downloads” since you merely have to visit a website to experience them. 

4. External Drives 

Cybercriminals can create applications and install them on external drives such as USBs or hard drives. When you insert these external drives into your computer, it can automatically install the ransomware application that compromises your data. 

4 Ways to Stay Safe from Ransomware 

1. Keep your operating systems patched 

Tech companies release updates for their systems to patch vulnerabilities and strengthen their security measures. This means that the latest software updates are typically the safest for your computer. 

2. Only click trustworthy links

One way to prevent phishing is to be more careful when clicking on links in emails or SMS messages. Always check the email of the sender.

Reputable companies often have their own business address, meaning that promotions from common “@gmail.com” or “@yahoo.com” addresses are likely to be scams. To ensure you’re receiving a legitimate email, check the company’s official contact numbers or email addresses.

3. Back up your data often

Having your data backed up means you’ll still have access to it even if your computer is compromised. It’s critical that your backup storage isn’t connected to your computer; ransomware on your main computer could spread to your backed-up data. 

4. Use multi-factor authentication 

Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, allows you to add another layer of security to your data, besides your password. Using another authentication method is much like adding another lock to your door at home—it’s a security technology that protects your company’s data by requiring another sign-process.

Multi-factor authentication solutions come in various forms, such as biometrics, where you would use the fingerprint sensor on your smartphone to log in.

Avoid a Heavy Price to Pay

Ransomware attacks don’t only affect your finances but your trustworthiness too. Your clients could shift to your competitors if they realize their data isn’t safe with you, so you must do everything you can to prevent such instances.

With this guide, you should have a better idea of how to prevent ransomware attacks. Being aware of the different ransomware attack methods and knowing how to safeguard your systems will help protect your client’s personal information and ensure your company’s stability.

Looking to bolster your security infrastructure? If your company handles sensitive data regularly, partnering with a cybersecurity vendor like Q5id will be in your best interest. As the most effective way to prevent ransomware attacks, availing of our multi-factor authentication solutions will ensure the safety of your database. Contact us today to learn more about our services!

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