How To Recover From A Ransomware Attack?
Ransomware attacks against healthcare organisations have jumped about 45% since early November, following an alarming 71% increase in October 2020, making healthcare the number one target of ransomware attacks that month. Fending off these attacks can be incredibly difficult, but it’s not impossible. HealthManagement offers several best practices from IT experts.
Ransomware attacks on US healthcare organisations cost an estimated $21 billion in 2020. During the year, 92 individual ransomware attacks affected over 600 separate clinics, hospitals, and organisations and more than 18 million patient records.
What Is Ransomware?
There are two main types of ransomware: crypto-ransomware and locker-ransomware. Crypto-ransomware encrypts an organization’s data and demands a ransom in order to have the files decrypted and safely returned. Locker-ransomware works in much the same way, except that it prevents users from accessing the files instead of encrypting them, before demanding a ransom for the data to be “unlocked”. In both cases, the attacker demands payment, threatening to publish sensitive information or permanently remove data from the system if the victim fails to pay up.
How does ransomware get onto your system in the first place?
It often starts with a trojan. A trojan is a type of malware that tricks victims into thinking it’s harmless by disguising itself as legitimate software. Trojans are primarily spread through spam mails. If the recipient opens the attached file or clicks on the URL, they unknowingly download the trojan, which then has the power to steal sensitive data. But attackers can also use it to spread other malware, like TrickBot or Qbot. This second layer of malware then spreads laterally through the company, stealing credentials, deploying backdoors and, perhaps most importantly, trying to access the domain controller. If they succeed in accessing the domain controller, the attacker can then deploy ransomware such as Ryuk, which encrypts the organiation’s data and demands the ransom. Some ransomware, however, doesn’t require user interaction to spread. Worms like WannaCry are a type of malware that replicate themselves so that they can tear through a system like wildfire, without the need for someone to keep passing it on via malicious URLs or attachments.
How Can You Recover From A Ransomware Attack?
1. Don’t pay the ransom.
First things first: don’t pay the ransom unless you haven’t got any copies of your data stored elsewhere at all, in which case you need to weigh up the cost of the data loss vs the demanded payment. A recent survey found that 26% of ransomware victims had their data returned after paying the ransom, and 1% paid the ransom, but didn’t get their data back. 56% of victims, more than twice as many as those who paid the ransom, recovered their data through backups.
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