All You Need to Know About Ransomware and How to Avoid It

ransomware attack on laptop

Ransomware is a form of malware that is used by cyber criminals to freeze your computer or mobile device, steal your data, and demand a “ransom” be paid. It is a growing online fraud scheme. Read on to find out more about it and how you can avoid it.

What You Need to Know About Ransomware

ransomware attack on laptop screenRansomware can destroy personal and business files, which leads to stolen data and large financial losses. It targets a specific individual within a business or a consumer with a link or attachment that infects your computer or leads you to an infected website. Here are a few things to know about ransomware attacks:

  • Ransomware attacks, especially those that target small businesses, are becoming more complex and are on the rise.
  • All devices are vulnerable to ransomware, but more and more mobile attacks are being reported.
  • Ransom fees vary from $200 to $10,000

Here are three ways that ransomware can take shape:

  • Spear phishing emails: Spear phishing emails are when the sender appears to be someone you may know or someone relevant to your business. The message is usually personalized and may include your name or a reference to a recent transaction.
  • Advertisements or pop-up windows: When ransomware takes this shape, your computer freezes and a pop-up message appears. The message may threaten a loss of your files or information or may tell you that your files have been encrypted.
  • Downloadable software: Ransomware can be present in downloadable games and file-sharing applications.

How to Avoid Ransomware

antivirus softwareNow that you know what ransomware is, it’s time to learn how you can prevent it. Here are several steps consumers can take to avoid ransomware:

  • Always back up your files and save them offline or in the cloud: When you maintain offline copies of your personal information, ransomware scams will have a limited impact on you. You will be less inclined to pay attention to threats by cyber criminals if you are targeted.
  • Always use antivirus software and a firewall: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system is the best defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats. It is recommended you turn on automatic updates so that you get the newest fixes when they become available.
  • Enable pop-up blockers: Turn on pop-up blockers to avert unwanted ads, pop-ups, or browser malware from constantly appearing on your computer screen.
  • Don’t click: Be cautious when opening emails or attachments that you don’t recognize.
  • Only download software from sites that you trust: Visiting unsafe, suspicious, or fake websites can lead to the intrusion of malware.

ransomware notice on laptopHere are a few steps businesses should take to avoid ransomware:

  • Educate employees: A strong security program paired with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses are a big help in preventing these threats.
  • Manage the use of privileged accounts: In an effort to limit your network’s exposure to malware, restrict users’ ability to install and run software applications on network devices.
  • Have a data backup and recovery plan for all critical information: Store the data in a separate device or offline in order to access it if there is a ransomware attack.
  • Keep all business devices up to date: Have antivirus and anti-malware solutions update automatically and conduct regular scans.

About Tennessee State Bank

Tennessee State Bank has been serving our local community for over 48 years. With branches in Sevier County, Knox County, Cocke County, and Jefferson County, we offer convenient banking services in East Tennessee. Whether you’re looking to open a checking account, obtain an auto loan, or apply for a home mortgage, we make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. Tennessee State Bank’s motto is “Banking at its Best!”SM, and we strive to live up to that creed every day. Let us know how we can help you by sending us a message via our Contact Form.

Tennessee State Bank is Member FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender.
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References

“Ransomware.” American Bankers Association, https://www.aba.com/advocacy/community-programs/consumer-resources/protect-your-money/ransomware-tips