June 25

How to Prevent Ransomware Attack Using Microsoft Security Solutions


Last Updated

You log onto your computer just like you do every day only to see your screen locked and device unable to boot up, a message demanding money or bitcoins appears instead. It's the moment that every computer or mobile device user dreads, Ransomware. In this case, you would need a Ransomware Protection Solution!

What is Ransomware?

Ordinarily falling victim to a ransom plot means that you are the son or daughter of some rich person and the only way to get out of it is by paying tons of money. These days being held for ransom can happen quite differently with your computer of all things. Ransomware is a particularly diabolical type of malware that is making headlines recently. Ransomware is a form of malicious software or malware which restricts access to your computer or mobile device. It encrypts data until you pay a ransom in exchange for accessing your device or data again. This threat puts you and your data at great risks, thus requiring you some sort of ransomware protection.

Communication Square offers security services that will help you mitigate these risks. Whether you are seeking protection for existing emailing solutions, or you want help migrating to a more secure environment. Our customized solutions and services would ensure the best ransomware protection.

How Did Ransomware Attacks Start?

Let's take a step back and see how it all started. Malware has been around since the dawn of the internet. It is in short, a software created for malicious purposes. It spreads to computers via spam emails, misleading links, fake software updates, and through exploiting vulnerabilities in web browsers and popular software. A decade ago, a new and particularly sinister type of malware emerged.

In 2005, Russian criminals created the first ransomware detected as Trojan Crysis. It was a crude parasite which zipped and password-protected a user’s personal documents. Fast forward to 2012, ransomware exploded across Europe and North America posing as law enforcement alerts accusing victims of piracy, terrorism, and even child pornography. The victims were then urged to pay a two hundred dollar fine or face criminal charges. In 2013, ransomware makers were already extracting more than three million dollars per year from their victims.  Then CryptoLocker was released and the stakes quadrupled almost overnight, CryptoLocker represented a totally new family of malware, which encrypts users photos documents and other personal files with a uniquely customized secret key. These files could only be restored by paying a ransom to obtain the secret key. Start protecting your data along with remote devices from ransomware with our industry-leading solutions.

How Does Ransomware Occur?

So, here's how it works; Once ransomware gets on your computer usually through infected email, attachment or the all too common Trojan horse attack, it will lock your computer or your data in some way and demand payment in exchange for giving control of your system back to you. Some of the simpler forms of ransom somewhere will simply try to fool you into thinking there's something wrong with your computer and get you to pay money to fix it. It's a common tactic that we see in those banner ads that tell you that you've been inexplicably infected by something. Now often with those, you've probably got at least rudimentary control over your system still. So the only real issue is that you have to deal with these constant pop-ups until you find a way to get rid of the malware.

A much more irritating kind of ransomware will lock your computer entirely and keep you from logging into your operating system unless you cough up the money. Many of these varieties of ransomware will display a threatening message purporting to be from the FBI or some other super hardcore police agency. It usually says that your computer was used for something highly illegal, but you can get your computer back and avoid doing a hard time just by paying a few hundred dollars. Sounds absurd! Right? But people have fallen victim to this and even if you recognize the scam immediately those ones can be a real pain to remove. Worst of all is the ransomware that not only locks your system but also encrypts your files and won't provide you with the key to decrypt and unless you pay up and the most notable of these being CryptoLocker.

Cybercriminals Have Only One Goal, to Get the Money out of Your Pockets!

Cybercriminals aren't exactly the most trustworthy folks and many people have reported not getting their files back even after paying the ransom. On top of that there are some kinds of ransomware that don't even ask for permission; they just hit your bitcoin wallet and take the money without even giving you a chance to say, ‘Well hold on, let me think about whether this data is actually worth paying for!’ This all prompts you to have some kind of ransomware protection deployed into your system.

How Can I Help Keep My PC Secure?

So, then how to secure your system from such a risk? The answer is simple! Through a ransomware protection solution. Many of the non-encrypting types of ransomware can be removed by booting into safe mode and running an up to date anti-malware tool or if that fails to download, then a boot-able removal tool to a flash drive and running that may help. However, if you've been hit by an encrypting variety of ransomware you're not going to want to hear this but you're probably out of luck as most of these use a very strong encryption algorithm. Just like prevention is better than cure, it is obvious that having a ransomware protection could save you a lot of money, and time.

How to Prevent a Ransomware Attack:

Among the simplest and best ransomware protection practices, here are a few mentioned below:

  • Make sure your PC is up to date with the latest version of Windows.
  • Turn on Windows Defender Antivirus to help protect you from viruses and malware.
  • Turn on File History if it hasn’t already by your PC’s manufacturer.
  • Back up the content on your PC regularly.
  • Take advantage of storage space to maintain two copies of your PC data.

What to Do If You Suspect That Your System Is Infected?

Microsoft Security Solutions know the treats to be real enough, thus these tools help your cause of ransomware protection. Whenever you have concerns about your ransomware protection, use anti-malware programs, such as Windows Defender Antivirus. Windows 10 provides the latest antivirus protection with Windows Defender Security Center, which contains Windows Defender Antivirus. When you start up Windows 10 for the first time, Windows Defender Antivirus turns on by default. It actively protects your device by scanning for malware, viruses, and security threats. Windows Defender Antivirus uses real-time protection to scan your downloads and the programs you run on your device. Also, Windows automatically downloads updates for Windows Defender Antivirus to help you with ransomware protection.

If You Actually Get a Ransomware Infection:

Unfortunately, a ransomware infection doesn’t show itself until you see some type of notification. You see it either in a window, an app, or a full-screen message, demanding money to regain access to your PC or files. These messages often display after encrypting your files. Try fully cleaning your PC with Windows Defender Offline.

Windows Defender Offline is a powerful offline scanning tool that runs from a trusted environment, without starting your operating system. You should do this before you try to recover your files. Also, see Backup and Restore in Windows 10 for help on backing up and recovering files.

Do not pay any money to recover your files. Even if you were to pay the ransom, there is no guarantee that you will regain access to your PC. The best practice, once you have been hit by a ransomware, is to migrate your remaining critical data to a secure solution.

What to Do if You Have Already Paid:

If you’ve already paid the ransom, immediately contact your bank and your local authorities. If you paid with a credit card, your bank may be able to block the transaction and return your money.

You can also contact the government fraud and scam reporting websites.

How Can Communication Square Help You With Ransomware Protection of Your Network?

No! No!
Don’t panic!
Communication Square is here like always. We help you protect yourself and most importantly protect your data with the guidelines provided by Microsoft. This will rob the malware makers of their income and erode the ransomware model from its core.
Get serious about your online security. Get secure with our ransomware protection services. Be safe and stay up to date with communication square. Let us help you to help yourself 🙂

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About the Author

Farwah Aslam: Your routine healthcare physician and a technology enthusiast.

Farwah Aslam

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