Hit with Ransomware? Here’s What To Do Next

what to do after a ransomware attack

If you find yourself looking up “what to do after a ransomware attack?” then you’ve got no time to lose—use these tips to secure your data and get back to business as soon as possible.

Are You a Victim of a Ransomware Attack?

Ransomware can manifest in various ways, but there are common indicators to be aware of. Sudden system lockdowns, unexplained program installations, and an influx of weird file extensions are a few signs that you may have fallen victim to ransomware.

Ransomware is not a one-size-fits-all kind of malware; it comes in various forms, each with its methods of infection and impact. Here’s a brief overview of the most common types:

  • Encrypting Ransomware: This is the most feared type of ransomware; it encrypts your files, which makes them inaccessible without a decryption key. The attackers will then promise to provide the key upon receiving ransom payment.
  • Locker Ransomware: Unlike encrypting ransomware, locker ransomware does not encrypt files. Instead, it locks you out of your device entirely, which makes it impossible to access any files or applications.
  • Scareware: Though not technically ransomware, scareware uses ransomware-like tactics to intimidate victims into paying a ransom. It often poses as legitimate security software, falsely claiming that malware has been detected on your device and demanding payment to remove it.
  • Doxware (or Leakware): Rather than or in addition to encrypting files, doxware threatens to publish your sensitive data online unless a ransom is paid. This type of ransomware plays on the fear of personal or corporate data being exposed.
  • RaaS (Ransomware as a Service): A newer model where ransomware is created and distributed by developers, while affiliates sign up to spread the malware. The profits are then shared between the developers and the affiliates.

What to Do After a Ransomware Attack

Follow these steps immediately after a ransomware attack to keep the damage as minimal as possible.

Step 1: Prevent Further Damage

Isolate Infected Devices

The first step is to prevent the spread. Disconnect and power off any device suspected of harboring ransomware immediately. This sudden isolation will contain the problem and give you time to assess the situation.

Disconnect from the Network

Ransomware can spread rapidly across your network, turning a contained incident into a systemic crisis. Once you’ve isolated the affected devices, disconnect from your local and remote networks to stop the infection from expanding further.

Notify Relevant Stakeholders

Communication is key. Stakeholders, such as your IT team or managed service provider, need to be made aware of the situation so that response measures can be initiated quickly.

Step #2: Evaluate the Damage

Evaluate Encrypted Files

Not all encrypted files merit the same level of concern. Prioritize essential data and systems while distinguishing between legitimate and ransomware-generated messages.

Determine the Scope of the Attack

Understanding the breadth of the assault is crucial. Use this time to trace the ransomware’s path and identify all potentially affected areas—no corner of your digital ecosystem should be left uninspected.

Assess Potential Data Loss

Beyond software, think about your data. Could sensitive customer information or irreplaceable business data be lost in this shutdown? Knowing what you stand to lose informs your recovery strategy.

Step #3: Communication and Reporting

Report the Attack to Appropriate Authorities

Depending on the nature of your business and the data impacted, you may need to inform the appropriate regulatory bodies or law enforcement agencies. This not only ensures you are compliant but also can provide valuable support.

Inform Employees and Clients

Transparency with your stakeholders builds trust and often fosters support during challenging times. Tailor your approach based on the severity of the breach, but ensure that all parties involved are kept in the loop.

Coordinate with IT and Cybersecurity Experts

Consult your cybersecurity experts for strategic advice and technical support. They’ve likely encountered similar scenarios and can guide you through a structured remediation plan.

What Can You Do to Prevent Future Cyber Attacks?

Now that you know what to do after a ransomware attack, it’s in your best interest to never have to use those skills again!

In collaboration with your cybersecurity team, establish comprehensive protocols that can help mitigate future attacks. That might look like intrusion detection systems, multi-factor authentication, or penetration testing.

Regular Employee Training and Awareness Programs

Empower your first line of defense: your employees. Regular training programs keep security at the forefront of their minds, which turns them into knowledgeable gatekeepers instead of entry points for malware.

Keep Software and Systems Up to Date

Maintaining current software and systems is a rudimentary step but a critical one. Hackers are constantly finding and exploiting vulnerabilities in outdated technology,  so it’s crucial to stay ahead of the game.

Backup Your Data

If you’ve fallen victim to ransomware, having regular backups can mean the difference between paying a ransom and recovering your data without any loss. Keep multiple copies of critical data on secure servers or cloud storage services, updated regularly.

Worried About What to Do After a Ransomware Attack? Partner With ANC Group

ANC Group offers cybersecurity services that safeguard your business from ransomware attacks and other cyber threats. Our team of experts can help you prevent, detect, and respond to malicious attacks to keep your data safe. Reach out and secure your data today!