Ransomware attacks are increasingly targeting small business owners. And if you’re unprepared, a ransomware attack can devastate your business. This post will share everything you need to know about how to recover from ransomware.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a malicious software program that gets installed on a computer or mobile device without the user’s knowledge and then encrypts files and data on the device. Then, the user is typically presented with a ransom note demanding payment to decrypt the data.
Ransomware can also completely lock users out of their devices. In some cases, ransomware can even spread to other devices on the network.
Keeping your devices up-to-date with the latest security patches, using an anti-ransomware program, ignoring emails from unknown sources, and backing up your important data are practical ways to protect your business from ransomware.
Is Ransomware Recovery Possible for a Business?
Yes, ransomware recovery is possible for a business. But the recovery time and amount of data lost during recovery can vary significantly, depending on the attack’s severity and the business’s level of preparedness. It becomes easier to recover from a ransomware attack if you have data saved on external storage devices or the cloud.
- READ MORE: What is Cybersecurity
How to Recover from a Ransomware Attack
The following is a step-by-step process to recover from a ransomware attack:
1. Don’t Panic
As a business owner, it can be scary to realize that ransomware has hit your computer systems. Your first instinct may be to panic and give in to the attacker’s demands, but it’s important to remember that there are other ways to deal with the situation.
The calmer you are, the better you will be in the position to assess the situation and explore various recovery capabilities.
2. Disconnect Infected Devices
One critical step to recover from a ransomware attack is to disconnect infected devices from the network. This prevents further ransomware spread, protecting other devices connected to the network.
So as soon as you learn about ransomware infection, disconnect the infected devices from the network or server and any external storage devices quickly. If your infected devices have airplane mode, switch it on. Shut down the device if you cannot turn off the Internet connection.
3. Check Other Devices and Servers
Once you have disconnected infected devices, you should check other devices for any signs of encrypted files. Even if you don’t see any signs of data encryption and you have some doubts, disconnect all devices and servers on your network. Then, scan all computers with a reputed anti-ransomware tool.
4. Check All Storage Devices for Infection
After checking all your computer devices, you should scan all of your external storage devices in your company. Ransomware often targets all types of storage devices, including hard disks and external storage devices.
5. Check for Data Exfiltration
Your data may be exfiltrated in the ransomware attack. So you must check computer systems and connected storage devices for any signs of data exfiltration.
Monitoring outbound traffic patterns, foreign IP address connections, and a Security Information and Event Management System (SIEM) can help you detect any incident of data exfiltration.
6. Avoid Paying the Ransom
When a ransomware attack strikes your business, paying the ransom might seem like the quickest way to regain access to your data and get back to work.
But you should not pay the ransom as there is no guarantee paying the ransom will help you gain access to your files back.
Small businesses must back up important files and sensitive data with proper security controls in place. This will help restore data from backups if necessary.
7. Check Online to Find a Decryption Key
Many websites these days offer decryption keys for known ransomware. So, you must check for a decryption key online. chances are you may get a decryption key to get your data back.
You can look out for the decryption key here, here, and here.
8. Report the Attack to Authorities
You should report the ransomware attack to the appropriate authorities. Sometimes, authorities can have a decryption key and help you fully recover your data.
What’s more, it is legally required for some businesses to report ransomware attacks in some cases. And failing to do can attract a considerable fine. So you should immediately notify appropriate authorities about the ransomware attack.
9. Recover Data
Preventing ransomware attacks is not always possible. This is why it is critical to back up your data regularly. Get ransomware removed from your computers and start restoring data from the backup to make your system up and running.
You should always restore data from your backup if you have an option, not from the infected device. This is because there will be data loss even in recovering data from infected devices even if you manage to get a decryption key.
10. Find out How the Attack Happened
Once you remove ransomware from your computers and restore files, it is time to conduct a security audit to discover the reasons behind the ransomware attack. This will help you strengthen ransomware protection to avoid any future incidents.
Also, you should take the required steps to enhance continuous data protection in your business. Using cloud-based data backup, creating multiple copies of essential data, and having flexible recovery options can help you quickly recover from a ransomware attack.
You should note that ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated. And more than half of ransomware infections are caused by phishing attacks.
Educating your employees on cybersecurity best practices can help prevent ransomware attacks.
- READ MORE: What is Ransomware
Can System Recovery Remove Ransomware?
System restore doesn’t always remove ransomware because ransomware often hides in files that system restore doesn’t modify.
Is Ransomware Data Recovery Easy to Do?
It depends. If you have a backup of your critical data, then recovering from ransomware is easy. If you don’t have data backed up in a local backup solution or cloud storage, it’s not easy to recover ransomware data.
So having a ransomware disaster recovery plan in place is imperative.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Ransomware Attack?
The average time to recover from a ransomware attack is one month. But the actual recovery time depends on the ransomware type, how your computer was infected in the first place, and what kind of data availability or data backup (if any) you have.
How Much Does It Cost to Recover from a Ransomware Attack?
The average cost to recover from a ransomware attack is 1$.4 million. But the actual cost of recovering from ransomware can vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the organization, the type of data being encrypted, and the availability (or lack thereof) of backed-up data.
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