Data Recovery Prevention: Ransomware and how to avoid it

Ransomware is a type of computer virus that is used by hackers in order to leverage our growing reliance on the data we have stored on our devices against us for monetary gain.

Put simply, once a device is infected with one of these viruses, the data stored on it is encrypted, with hackers then demanding a fee for the decryption key. The data is, quite literally, held to ransom, hence the virus’s name.

As you can imagine, the effects of ransomware can be devastating. Furthermore, when the infected device is attached to a network, it can go on to infect every other device that is attached to it making it an extremely potent threat to businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Over the past three years, Fields Data Recovery have witnessed a five-fold increase in media that has suffered data loss attributable to ransomware. Fortunately, by following these tips, you can ensure that you’re safe from this and most other computer viruses:

Install and maintain anti-virus software

Yes, it’s obvious but you’d be surprised how many times we’ve seen businesses require our services because their IT personnel didn’t update their anti-virus software.

Installing and maintaining anti-virus software is vital for businesses and individuals alike. It’s easy to do and relatively low-cost so there really are no excuses for not having it.

Be vigilant

Viruses like ransomware usually find their way onto devices and networks via unsolicited emails, malicious adverts and apps. By remaining mindful of the threat of viruses and refraining from opening unsolicited emails or visiting websites that you’re unfamiliar with, you’ll go a long way towards securing your data.

Phishing emails are becoming more and more sophisticated, however, and now regularly mimic communications from reputable service providers exceptionally well. Couple this with the fact that these highly-convincing messages usually come with a request for urgent action (suspicious activity on a credit card, for example) and it’s understandable that people get caught out by them.

If you receive an email from a service provider that appears to be genuine, don’t click on any links or even respond to it. If you’re concerned, simply contact the relevant service provider directly.

Back up your data regularly

Whilst our previous tips have centred around prevention (which is, after all, better than cure), it’s always good to have something to fall back on if the worst does happen.

By regularly backing up your data to an unnetworked drive, you’ll be able to address data loss – whether it’s been caused by ransomware or anything else – rapidly.

If you’ve lost data because of ransomware or for any other reason, you can book a free diagnostic and get a free no-obligation quote for data recovery from Fields Data Recovery here.