Ransomware: how to avoid and recover from this sinister threat


Dubbed one of “the biggest PC threats in 2016” by IT security company Trend Micro, ransomware is a nasty form of malware that affects personal computers and businesses on a regular basis. 

Ransomware works by holding a computer’s files “for ransom” and demanding payment or some other action (like completing a survey) in order to release them, though there is no guarantee that once the ransom is paid the files will be released. 

According to Microsoft, there are two main kinds of ransomware. One completely takes over a computer and locks users out of all their files. The other encrypts some or all of a computer’s files, making them inaccessible. Oftentimes, a threatening message will appear and, for example, tell a user they have done something illegal and the police have locked the computer. 

The good news is, you can avoid and recover from ransomware by following a few simple rules. 

Microsoft suggests avoiding unsafe, suspicious, or fake-looking websites or email links. These often have misspelled web addresses or addresses with odd variations in punctuation. If a link looks at all suspicious or you don’t know and trust who is sending you the link, don’t open it.  

Additionally, it is imperative to backup all your files on a regular basis so that if you do accidently download ransomware, you won’t lose all your information.  

Companies, especially those with large amounts of sensitive data to store, should back up their information in a secure, remote, off-network manner so that if a system is compromised, information can be safely restored. 

If your company does suffer a ransomware attack, ComputerWeekly.com offers this three-pronged approach for recovery: 

  1. Increase user awareness of ransomware, so that they can be on the lookout for ways it could be downloaded. 
  2. If business systems are affected by ransomware, if possible, isolate and contain the “patient zero” computer before whole network is affected. 
  3. Analyze the affected computer to figure out how the ransomware was downloaded so as to avoid it happening again.

DATASTOR™ provides excellent data storage and backup solutions that can help you recover from a ransomware attack. Additionally, our technicians will do their best to support you in recovering your lost files.  

A DATASTOR™ customer recently suffered a ransomware attack. Karen F. said the company’s backups that were completed with DATASTOR™ technology were not impacted, those that had been backed up other ways were infected.  

She told a DATASTOR™ technician after the incident: “Great news, the server is up and running and the databases are restored. I really couldn’t have done it without your help, with the updated software, and SRE. Thanks a million!” 

Another DATASTOR™ customer said: “The assistance provided by DATASTOR™ in response to our Ransomware attack was meticulous, patient and efficient and assisted us in a near complete restore.”