How do you deal with a ransomware attack? 

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How do you deal with a ransomware attack? 

Nobody is ever fully prepared for a ransomware attack, but it helps to have some pre-emptive knowledge on how to deal with such a situation. 

Ransomware: what is the impact? 

In a ransomware attack, an attacker extorts by encrypting the most sensitive information assets, asking for a ransom in exchange for decryption keys.  Attackers threaten to publish sensitive data on the dark web and approach the business’ customers.  

A ransomware attack is no less than a medical emergency. It happens in seconds, but the impact remains for a long time, which can be days, months, or even a year.  

Its impact is not only monetary (the cost of ransomware payments exceeding upto $1 billion in 2023!) but also operational and reputational with more than 60% of small businesses folding after an attack. 

Businesses struggle to pay fines as a result of non-compliance imposed by the regulatory authorities, leading to an impact on brand reputation and loss of customers.  

In 2023, 65% of businesses targeted by ransomware attacks were medium-sized businesses, 22% were enterprises, and 10% were small businesses. If your business has suffered a ransomware attack, how do you handle it? Let us explore some of the steps that you can take.  

How to handle a ransomware attack? 

There is no perfect set of measures against ransomware attack. However, it is essential to follow some of the best practices for prevention, response, and recovery.  


Prevent Phishing – implement phishing prevention mechanisms

Awareness gaps often become a low-hanging fruit for attackers to deliver ransomware. It becomes necessary to train employees on best practices to detect phishing emails and deploy anti-phishing solutions to reduce the possibility of phishing.  

Strengthen access management  

Enable Multi-factor authentication and set access controls based on a zero-trust approach and take the assistance of cybersecurity experts to implement access management best practices. 

Implement anti-ransomware solutions 

Implement a strong anti-ransomware solution that can quickly detect malicious software like ransomware and delete it before it gains a stronghold in the system. 

Ensure periodical backup of critical data 

Create and implement a policy for periodical backup of all the critical data. 

Keep software and systems updated and patched 

Self-spreading ransomware often exploits the unpatched vulnerabilities. Therefore, it is essential to keep software and systems patched.  


Keep your composure 

Cyber criminals count on their targets panicking and making a mistake that will provide them with further access to defenses. Therefore, it is essential to keep a calm mind and not panic. 

Engage in containment 

Disconnect all the infected systems, scan the network, and ensure that the attacker doesn’t have ongoing access to any of the other systems.  

Make sure that the system status is maintained 

Post-infection, systems may be in an unstable state therefore, it is essential to not make changes to the system (through a reboot, system maintenance etc.)  

Don’t connect backups with the infected machines 

Don’t make the mistake of connecting backup hardware with infected machines, the ransomware might be active and destroy backups, which is quite common for increasing leverage for ransom.  

Coordinate with the respective parties 

Coordinate with enforcement officers and incident response services providers to improve precision in remediation and recovery.  

Report to law enforcement authorities 

Take screenshots, click pictures, footage, etc. gather as much evidence as possible of the said ransomware attack, and prepare a detailed report of the incident before handing it over to law enforcement agencies.  


Avoid paying ransom 

You may be enticed to believe that paying ransom might solve the issue but there is no guarantee of full data recovery. In many cases, businesses that have paid the ransom have become victims of another ransomware attack.  

Explore whether the decryption key is available online for the said ransomware  

Take the assistance of experts if needed and look up the decryption keys online for the said ransomware.  

Engage in the recovery of data from the backups 

Once all the containment and remediation are done, begin the recovery of data from all the available backups to prevent paying the high cost of ransom.  

Leverage 24×7 incident response support for your business with SharkStriker 

How can SharkStriker help you with ransomware? 

Taking the right steps in a state of panic during a ransomware attack with a limited team is a challenge not everyone can handle. It is essential to prevent such attacks from happening in the first place.  

It requires organizations to prepare their cybersecurity posture with the best practices in incident response and ransomware prevention.  

SharkStriker offers a round-the-clock team of incident responders and cybersecurity experts that help you take the right steps whether it is preparing your posture against attacks like ransomware or taking the first steps of incident response.  


Get proactive expert-driven security with SharkStriker 

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