Just like giving candy to a child to elicit good behavior from them, ransomware is no different.
They start off by enticing you, and then they reel you in once you take the bait (in this case, a phishing email; or that USB that you have "found" just lying around) and then they lock you down.
In order for you to regain access to your files on your workstation, you will be asked to pay a ransom via untraceable virtual currency like Bitcoin.
To make you panic and make you decide without considering all factors, they add a timer: the longer you take, the higher the ransom.
Ransom amounts are on average at about S$670 (US$500), and statistics show that because you are willing to pay it once, the hackers will do it repeatedly to the same individual, or business.
WannaCry ransomware has hit hard as we type this post. And we can predict that the ransomware is not far from home (Singapore).
In an effort to reduce costs, and also because some software that a business uses is not compatible with Windows latest Operating System (OS) 10, local SMEs and startups continue using Windows 7 or older OS, and are very vulnerable.
So what steps can you take to prevent ransomware?
1. Have a next-generation anti-virus (NGAV) installed on your computer.
For corporate clients on our managed IT solution, we already provide either Webroot Next-Gen Endpoint Security, or Bitdefender GravityZone Advanced Business Security in the subscription.
For consumers subscribed to our home IT solution Nerde, we've included Comodo's Advanced Endpoint Protection to give them the confidence to stay safe online for just $1 a day.
To aid them even further, unlimited remote troubleshooting is bundled in. But of course, that is just the tip of the iceberg.
2. That is why you should have a backup plan in place.
For corporate clients, we work with to implement a sound backup and disaster recovery plan.
Then we shift our focus to business continuity.
We will then automate those tasks. This includes the scheduling of the backups itself, and the verification of the backups.
As an additional layer of cyber security, this portion of our managed IT solution also comes with ransomware detection.
On the consumer front, we will automate the backups to the customer's preferred Hard Disk Drive (HDD), and at the same time provide unlimited cloud storage to be used as backup.