Malicious software has become very serious threat to anyone who connects to the internet. Hundreds of companies, individuals, and institutes have fallen victim to various kinds of malicious software, but ransomware is by far the worst kind. Unlike most viruses, this type of software doesn’t directly attack the system or even steal data. Instead, the system is locked up and data is held for ransom. Users are told to make a payment to an online account of some type and in exchange, they are told that their data will be released. Unfortunately, most security software doesn’t successfully detect the software. This means that before the user is aware, their data is locked up and made completely unusable. Once infection occurs, there are a few steps that can be taken to make sure it doesn’t get any worse.
The first thing to do when an infection has been detected is to isolate the computer from the rest of the system. Any files that are shared between the infected computer and the rest of the system will also need to be isolated. If there are any folders that sync automatically, the services that upload the files will need to be stopped. It’s best to completely remove the computer from the network and make sure wireless connections are stopped. Next, the particular strain of ransomware will need to be identified. There are several strains and each of them has a unique encryption key. Most of these keys can be downloaded for free from service providers such as Monstercloud, but they may be included as part of premium security software.
The last step in curing the infection is to find the file that caused it. Looking through the computer’s browsing and download history can give clues as to which files were infected. A quick scan of the system might reveal the source, but it’s not likely if the infection wasn’t detected in the first place. Manually checking downloads and eliminating files that might have caused the infection should prevent the virus from spreading. The best way to prevent future infections is to educate users and make sure they don’t download suspicious files starting with the one that was identified as the source of the infection.