Ransomware has emerged as one of today’s most dangerous cybersecurity risks. It’s used to infect and encrypt computer files until a ransom is paid. The impacts can be profoundly devastating.
Although municipalities and small businesses are generally more vulnerable to ransomware attacks than larger companies, it’s worthwhile to know how you can stay safe from the potential impacts at work and/or at home. AIG is committed to keeping you informed about cybersecurity best practices and working to do our part to help protect your information.
As always, be mindful when clicking on links and attachments, especially those that originate from suspicious or unknown senders. If you suspect that your computer has been infected:
- Isolate the infected system. Disconnect the infected system from all networks, and disable the computer’s wireless, Bluetooth, and any other potential networking capabilities. Confirm that all shared and networked drives are disconnected whether wired or wireless.
- Do not power off the computer.
- Consider visiting the Cybercrime consultation counter at the prefectural police headquarters closest to you to report an issue and seek assistance.
(Information at the above link is available only in Japanese.)
Prevention and Best Practices
- Back up your computer. Perform frequent backups of your system and other important files and verify your backups regularly. If your computer becomes infected with ransomware, you can restore your system to its previous state using your backups.
- Store your backups separately. Best practice is to store your backups on a separate device that cannot be accessed from a network, such as on an external hard drive. Once the backup is complete, make sure to disconnect the external hard drive, or separate the device from the network or computer.
- Update and patch your computer. Ensure your applications and operating systems (OSs) have been updated with the latest patches. Vulnerable applications and OSs are the target of most ransomware attacks.
- Use and maintain protective software programs. Antivirus software can provide mitigation against ransomware. Consider using and make sure it is updated.
- Use caution with links and attachments. Be careful when clicking directly on links in emails, even if the sender appears to be someone you know. Be wary of opening email attachments, even from senders you think you know, particularly when attachments have unusual file extensions or ask you to enable macros or change system settings.