28th October 2019 All Posts

Security Monday: Ransomware

Welcome to week four of our ‘Security Monday’ top tips. The topic this week is ‘Ransomware’ and we have some tips from our Security Lead Jaabeer.

We suggest that you share these top tips with your staff to keep all of your data super secure. Make sure you check out last weeks article on ‘Password Security.’

Ransomware has been on the rise over the last couple years, mainly due to the devastating impact WannaCry (which is a strain of ransomware) had on the NHS and parts of the world back in 2017. 

Ransomware is essentially malware which, without the users knowledge, encrypts as much user files as possible and then requests a payment to unencrypt those files. It essentially holds the victim ‘to ransom’ hence the name. 

Most ransomware files are loaded onto a victims machine via the usual methods such as dodgy documents on phishing emails or by downloading a suspicious file. Once landed, the ransomware gets to work and starts encrypting files.

There are a few ways to spot and prevent ransomware occurring:

  • Encryption is a resource-heavy task and if ransomware lands on a laptop, it may cause it to seem sluggish or very slow.
  • You might start to have trouble opening documents or they are replaced with weird symbols or file extensions (e.g. word document called Plans.docx might show up as Plans.wcry). This could mean that Ransomware is already on your device.
  • Most ransomware is picked up by Anti Virus using a mixture of signatures or by analysing the behaviour. However, some newer strains may not be picked up, so don’t rely on just that alone.
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About the Author

Jaabeer works in the Information Security and Data Protection industry and is a Certified GDPR Practitioner . He has a wealth of experience working in the information technology, healthcare and energy industry as a Security Lead and Information Security Analyst.