What Every School Should Know About Ransomware Attacks

Learning how ransomware works can not only lower your odds of having to deal with an attack but also help you get back on your feet quickly if you are targeted.  

More than five hundred schools have been hit with ransomware attacks in 2019 alone, which means that it is likely only a matter of time before your school is targeted as well. Learn how ransomware works in order to defend yourself from an attack or to recover quickly if your system has been infected.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware. Once it gains access to a computer, it thoroughly scans the hard drive and encrypts each file on the machine. A message then appears telling the victim that the computer is locked but can be unlocked if the user is willing to pay a ransom. The ransom is typically paid in Bitcoin; after payment, the files are supposed to be unlocked. However, paying the ransom does not automatically guarantee that you will get your files back. What is more, it is possible for malware to remain on the computer even if your files are unlocked.

How Does Ransomware Gain Access to Your IT System?

Unfortunately, there are many ways in which a cybercriminal can gain access to your IT system. Common ransomware infection methods include:

  • Phishing emails with malicious attachments
  • Infected websites that will download and install ransomware on your computer without your knowledge
  • Social media
  • Web-based instant messaging apps
  • Vulnerable web servers

What’s the Secret to a Fast Recovery?

The FBI has unequivocally stated that it does not support ransom payments. Thankfully, you don’t necessarily have to shell out thousands or even millions of dollars to recover from a ransomware attack if you take the following steps:

  • Back up your data regularly. You should have an online back-up on a secure cloud computing platform as well as an offline back-up that cannot be accessed by hackers.
  • Have a plan in place that faculty members can follow in the event of a ransomware attack. One of the most critical aspects of this plan is limiting the attack by shutting down affected machines and disconnecting them from the network so they cannot be used to spread the ransomware infection to additional devices.
  • Partner with an IT managed service that can help you wipe affected computers, scan them for malware, re-install operating systems and software programs, and restore your files without undue delay.

Ransomware Recovery and Prevention For NYC & Long Island Schools

Network Outsource is a leading IT managed service that specializes in working with educational institutions throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. We install, maintain, manage, and troubleshoot applications to ensure that they work well at all times. We also patch software programs on an ongoing basis to ensure they remain free from vulnerabilities that could lead to a ransomware attack. Other services include mobile device management and compliance management to help you stay in step with local and state regulations. Network Outsource’s services can all be customized to suit your needs and budget, making it easy for any educational institution to get professional help and assistance at a reasonable cost. Get in touch with us to learn more or to make an appointment with one of our consultants.