What to Do After a Ransomware Attack

What do you do if you wake up one morning and discover that your system’s log-in credentials have mysteriously vanished? What steps do you take if you discover that your data have been encrypted in order to prevent you from accessing them legally? Do you want to know what to do if your computer has been infected with ransomware?

Since the dawn of the information age, ransomware assaults have been on the rise. This surge has been exacerbated by an extraordinary increase in the number of internet users, owing in part to the massive shift in work patterns prompted by the COVID-19 epidemic.

To put it another way, there are now more people working remotely than ever before. As a result, cyber-criminals will have more opportunity to take advantage of naïve consumers through the usage of ransomware software. This is mostly accomplished through the use of phishing emails and drive-by download scams, both of which are disguised as legal and genuine information.

Once inside, these fraudsters can cause catastrophic losses by extorting large sums of money from the users. Despite paying the promised ransom, they may refuse to return the confiscated information and instead choose to utilise it maliciously.

As a result, the purpose of this post is to inform its readers on the proper procedures to take if they have been the unlucky victim of ransomware assaults. It aims to teach several ways that such users can employ in order to mitigate losses and prevent future attacks.

A Ransomware Attack in Its Early Stages

Mitigation for ransomware is usually determined by the severity of the assault. This means that in order to apply the appropriate solution, one must be able to determine the extent to which his or her system has been compromised. The following are the general processes that each ransomware assault will go through:

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Installation

Allowing system access to the ransomware in question usually results in installation within seconds. This access is frequently granted by clicking on phishing emails or accessing ransomware-infected websites. Once the ransomware has gained access, it often attaches itself to the server in question, potentially affecting all other devices linked to the endpoint in question.

Keys are exchanged

The ransomware permits communication between the fraudsters’ server and the computer system under assault once it has been installed. This contact is usually involved in the creation of cryptographic keys that are used to get access to the blitzed system.

Encryption of files

The data in the bombarded system are then encrypted, making it impossible for the user to view them. This type of encryption can also be done over a vast network of interconnected computers.

Blackmail

In this situation, blackmail refers to the process of requesting a ransom almost immediately after a file has been encrypted. If the necessary payment is not made, it is usually accompanied by either a promise to restore the encrypted data or a threat to maliciously handle it.

Procedures for Responding to Ransom Demands That Are Appropriate

In the event of a ransomware attack, the following are the recommended ransomware response measures to follow:

Quarantine System

When it comes to preventing a ransomware infestation, this should be at the top of the priority list. To avoid additional infection, it is normally done by separating all devices connected to the network under investigation.

Ensure the safety of your backups

When it comes to system cleanup and restoration, data backups are undoubtedly the most crucial components. In the event of a ransomware attack, one should secure their protection because fraudsters frequently target them in order to obstruct system recovery.

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Until the ransomware problem is fixed, system backups should be disabled or unplugged from the afflicted network.

Maintenance Tasks should be deactivated.

Maintenance chores are actions that are normally carried out on a regular basis based on the demands of the system in question. If such operations are left running during a ransomware assault, they may jeopardise the process of locating the source of the attack.

Back Up Infected Machines

Any affected information must be segregated and stored in a safe and secure manner. This should be done in order to minimise unintentional data loss during the decryption procedure. Data that isn’t particularly vital or sensitive right now can be kept for longer periods of time until a suitable decryption tool is found.

Determine the type of ransomware that has been used.

Identifying the ransomware that was utilised is crucial since it usually helps ransomware experts figure out what flaws in your system enabled access. It also aids in the development of a successful decryption tool as a countermeasure to the current encryption. Two of the techniques that aid in the identification of the malware utilised are determining the infection source point and isolating the ransomware in issue.

Conclusion

It is entirely feasible to fully recover from the consequences of a ransomware assault. However, for the sais recovery to become a reality, timely and decisive treatment is required both during and after the attack.

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Evangeline Christina is a Cyber Security Enthusiast, Security Blogger, Technical Editor, Certified Ethical Hacker, Author at Cyberspecial.net. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter in a reputed news agency.

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