All you need to know

Ransomware attacks are increasingly targeting small business owners. And if you’re not prepared, a ransomware attack can devastate your business. This article will share everything you need to know about how to recover from ransomware.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is malicious software that installs itself on a computer or mobile device without the user’s knowledge and then encrypts files and data on the device. Then the user is usually presented with a ransom note demanding payment to decrypt the data.

Ransomware can also completely block users from accessing their devices. In some cases, ransomware can even spread to other network devices.

Keeping your devices updated with the latest security patches, using an anti-ransomware program, ignoring emails from unknown sources, and backing up your important data are practical ways to protect your business against ransomware.

Is ransomware recovery possible for a company?

Yes, ransomware recovery is possible for a business. But recovery time and the amount of data lost during recovery can vary significantly, depending on the severity of the attack and the level of preparedness of the business. It becomes easier to recover from a ransomware attack if you have data saved on external storage devices or in the cloud.

How to recover from a ransomware attack

Here is a step-by-step process to recover from a ransomware attack:

1. Don’t Panic

As a business owner, realizing that ransomware has hit your computer systems can be frightening. Your first instinct may be to panic and give in to the abuser’s demands, but it’s important to remember that there are other ways to handle the situation.

The calmer you are, the better you will be able to assess the situation and explore various recovery skills.

2. Disconnect infected devices

A critical step in recovering from a ransomware attack is to disconnect infected devices from the network. This prevents the spread of ransomware and protects other devices connected to the network.

So, as soon as you discover a ransomware infection, quickly disconnect the infected devices from the network or server and any external storage devices. If your infected devices have airplane mode, enable it. Turn off the device if you cannot turn off the internet connection.

3. Check other devices and servers

Once you disconnect the infected devices, you should check the other devices for any signs of encrypted files. Even if you see no signs of data encryption and are suspicious, disconnect all devices and servers from your network. Then scan all computers with reputable anti-ransomware tool.

4. Check all storage devices for infection

After checking all your computer devices, you should scan all your external storage devices in your company. Ransomware often targets all types of storage devices, including hard drives and external storage devices.

5. Verify data exfiltration

Your data can be exfiltrated during the ransomware attack. You should therefore check computer systems and attached storage devices for any signs of data exfiltration.

Monitoring outbound traffic patterns, foreign IP address connections, and a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system can help you detect any data exfiltration incidents.

6. Avoid paying the ransom

When a ransomware attack hits your business, paying the ransom might seem like the quickest way to regain access to your data and get back to work.

But you should not pay the ransom because there is no guarantee that paying the ransom will help you regain access to your files.

Small businesses should back up important files and sensitive data with proper security controls in place. This will help restore data from backups if needed.

7. Check online to find a decryption key

Many websites nowadays offer decryption keys for known ransomware. So you need to search for decryption key online. chances are you will get a decryption key to recover your data.

You can find the decryption key here, here and here.

8. Report the attack to the authorities

You should report the ransomware attack to the relevant authorities. Sometimes the authorities may have a decryption key and help you fully recover your data.

Additionally, some companies are legally required to report ransomware attacks in certain cases. And failure to do so can result in a hefty fine. You should therefore immediately inform the relevant authorities about the ransomware attack.

9. Recover data

It is not always possible to prevent ransomware attacks. This is why it is essential to back up your data regularly. Remove ransomware from your computers and start restoring data from backup to make your system operational.

You should always restore data from your backup if possible, and not from the infected device. This is because there will be data loss even while recovering data from infected devices even if you manage to get a decryption key.

10. Find out how the attack happened

Once you have removed the ransomware from your computers and restored the files, it is time to perform a security audit to find out the reasons behind the ransomware attack. This will help you strengthen the protection against ransomware to avoid any future incidents.

Additionally, you should take the necessary steps to improve the ongoing protection of data in your business. Using cloud-based data backup, creating multiple copies of essential data, and having flexible recovery options available can help you recover quickly from a ransomware attack.

You should note that ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated. And more than half of ransomware infections are caused by phishing attacks.

Training your employees in cybersecurity best practices can help prevent ransomware attacks.

Can System Recovery remove ransomware?

System Restore does not always remove ransomware because ransomware often hides in files that System Restore does not modify.

Is Ransomware data recovery easy to do?

It depends. If you have a backup of your critical data, recovery from ransomware is easy. If you don’t have data saved in local backup solution or cloud storage, it is not easy to recover ransomware data.

It is therefore imperative to have a disaster recovery plan in place against ransomware.

How long does it take to recover from a ransomware attack?

The average recovery time after a ransomware attack is one month. But the actual recovery time depends on the type of ransomware, how your computer was infected in the first place, and what kind of data availability or data backup (if any) you have.

How much does it cost to recover from a ransomware attack?

The average cost to recover from a ransomware attack is $1.4 million. But the actual cost of ransomware recovery can vary widely depending on the size and complexity of the organization, the type of data encrypted, and the availability (or lack thereof) of backed up data.

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