US politician and Texas Representative Michael C.Burgess has voiced a very strong opinion regarding the issue of malware attacks when he said that Ransomware perpetrators should be “shot at sunrise”. He made this comment at the encryption hearing before a House subcommittee on Tuesday.
The comment that Mr. Burgess has made deserves special mention, especially in the light of a considerable increase in Ransomware strikes in recent times and the need for strong internet security measures.
Ransomware, like other malware, can infect a system or a network without anyone getting a hint about it. It’s later only that it starts working, affecting and restricting the proper functioning of the system/network. Ransomware infects files that are encrypted and which are to be decrypted; consequent to the infection, these files won’t get decrypted and the total functioning of the system/network would be stalled to an extent. Those affected would be forced to pay a ransom to get themselves out of this plight.
The US healthcare industry was affected by such ransomware strikes in the recent past. A ransomware strike at the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles made the authorities pay $17,000 as ransom, to get their network back on track. The Methodist Hospital of Henderson, Kentucky had to declare an internal emergency after its network was infected with the Locky ransomware. Ransomware strikes thus affect the functioning of file access, browsers, applications etc in many organizations and cripple the overall functioning of businesses.
So that’s it. Mr. Burgess does have a strong point to make as regards ransomware attacks and internet security. Let’s take heed of his comment and do what we can to “shoot” ransomware, if not ransomware criminals. Let the government handle the criminals; we, at our end, can take virus protection and virus removal steps to nip the menace in the bud itself and ensure minimum damage.
So, what virus removal measures need to be adopted to combat ransomware? More important than removing ransomware would be to go for preventive measures, to ensure that systems and networks don’t get infected with this malware in the first place. Let’s examine some basic internet security measures that would work as regards combating ransomware-
- Do frequent and regular backup of data and important files.
- Ensure that backup devices are not left connected to the system/network.
- Use trusted anti-malware software like Comodo.
- Update antivirus/anti-malware software regularly.
- Ensure that Windows updates are downloaded and installed automatically.
- Use auto-containment technology to prevent ransomware from accessing hard disk data.
- Ensure that all OS patches and updates are applied properly and quickly.
- Ensure that browsers are updated to latest versions, with all promptness.
- Maintain backups of websites in safe, preferably offsite locations.
- Do proper monitoring of webpages, keeping an eye on unauthorized changes.
- Ensure that proper endpoint security measures are adopted.
- Ensure regular review and assessment of 3rd party software running on the server.
Such basic internet security measures would help keep ransomware at bay; if infected, it would be advisable to go for conventional virus removal techniques.