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Ransomware, as the name implies, encrypts your files and demands a sum of money in exchange for a decryption key. Some variants also encrypt sensitive data.

Aside from encrypting files, ransomware also can lock your computer’s screen with a message that warns you about illegal activities like child pornography or piracy. These messages also usually contain a demand for payment of a penalty fee.

Once you’ve been infected by ransomware, the first step is to disengage all systems from the network and power them down. Next, prioritize the restoration of the most critical systems so they can be back up and running as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, you should create secure backups of your data using cloud storage that offers high-level encryption and multiple-factor authentication. It’s also a good idea to have a USB or external hard drive on hand to store new or updated files, but be sure to disconnect the devices after backing them up so they don’t get infected as well.

The most effective way to prevent ransomware from infecting your network is to stay on top of security updates and patches for your software. If your software is outdated or abandonware, you can help protect your company by getting rid of it and replacing it with updated versions.

Ransomware attacks have skyrocketed in recent years, and they’re growing in frequency and complexity. To combat the threat, organizations should implement a comprehensive and modern data management solution that protects their entire enterprise against ransomware.