When a computer becomes infected with Ransomware, many people’s first instinct is to panic! Much like if a child was kidnapped, the parents can be too emotional to handle the situation properly. Once you step back and breathe for a minute, you can have a clear picture of what your options are.
What are your options?
Despite what the scary message on the computer might be telling you, there are a few different options from which you can choose.
Pay the ransom
The first and most obvious choice is to pay the ransom. If you are considering this route, however, there are a few things you should know. A recent study showed that even if you do pay the ransom, chances are not very high that you will receive your data intact. According to the report, only half of the businesses who chose to pay the ransom are actually able to obtain control of their data again. That number is staggering and doesn’t put a lot of confidence in the restoration of data, even when the ransom has been paid.
Wipe the computer
If the computer that has been hijacked is mainly used to access files from the cloud or from a server and doesn’t actually store any files locally, you may be able to wipe the computer and start over. When the operating system has been installed, the computer will have no traces of the ransomware that took it over. The main downside to this solution is you will have to reinstall any software programs that you had on the computer. Also, sometimes people forget about files they have stored on their desktop or elsewhere on the local machine, and those files would be lost forever.
Restore from backup
One of the best options you have is the ability to restore from a backup if there is one available. Provided your network keeps frequent backups of the device, you may not even miss a beat once the restore is completed. This method requires full image backups of each device, which could take up a lot of space on the backup utility, so it may not be an option for all of the employee devices on the network.
Combined wipe & restore
Sometimes networks are set up to only backup files, especially for employee workstations. In this situation, the best solution is to wipe the device, reinstall all of the software programs, and then restore the individual files from the backup. This method will obviously take the longest, but will also ensure that no viruses are lingering from the ransomware attack.
According to the above-mentioned report, almost half of all businesses were the victims of ransomware attacks last year. The study also showed that 28% of those victims were never able to recover their data, either through choosing not to pay the ransom, or paying and still not being able to take control of the data. Businesses are definitely getting smarter about avoiding the traps that ransomware creators like to set. However, there can be no price on a good reliable backup system.
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