Ransomware Information

How does a computer become infected with Ransomware?

Ransomware is often spread through phishing emails that contain malicious attachments or through drive-by downloading. Drive-by downloading occurs when a user unknowingly visits an infected website and then malware is downloaded and installed without the user’s knowledge. This is why you should never click links from untrusted sources.

Crypto ransomware, a malware variant that encrypts files, is spread through similar methods and has also been spread through social media, such as Web-based instant messaging applications. Additionally, newer methods of ransomware infection have been observed. For example, vulnerable Web servers have been exploited as an entry point to gain access into an organization’s network.

How can I protect myself from Ransomware attacks?

  • Backup up your computer regularly and keep a backup copy on a separate system (i.e. Google Drive, your H: Drive on the server).  
    • There are dozens of ways other than Ransomware that files can suddenly vanish, such as fire, flood, theft, a dropped laptop or even an accidental delete. 
  • Do Not enable macros in document attachments received via email.
    • Microsoft deliberately turned off auto-execution of macros by default many years ago as a security measure. A lot of malware infections rely on persuading you to turn macros back on, so don’t do it!
    • To ensure you have disabled macros please see this article: How to disable macros in Microsoft Office
  • Do Not open unsolicited email attachments
    • The crooks are relying on the dilemma that you shouldn’t open a document until you are sure it’s one you want, but you can’t tell if it’s one you want until you open it. If in doubt, throw it out.
    • Forward suspicious emails to technology@isd518.net.
  • Learn how to spot suspicious email by visiting our Phishing resources page. 
    • Ransomware is commonly delivered via Phishing emails that entice you to click a malicious link or download and open a malicious file attachment. Visit our Phishing resources page for tips on how to spot and avoid Phishing attacks.