The most common way ransomware infects computers is via phishing emails which contain malicious attachments or links. By clicking on the link or attachment, the user will unknowingly download and install the ransomware which then begins encrypting files.
Ransomware can be removed from your device through deletion of the malicious files, however your files will remain encrypted. By disconnecting from the internet and wiping the infected device, you should be able to remove all ransomware. The best way to recover all the encrypted files is still through an offline backup.
Whilst there’s no method to completely protect your organisation against ransomware, the best defence is prevention and being prepared. Security hygiene and basic training can significantly reduce your chances of employees unknowingly clicking or installing compromised software. Multilayer security controls that uses firewalls, antivirus programs, and multi factor authentication can also provide your organisation with additional opportunities to identify the ransomware and stop it before harm is dealt.
Once your data has been encrypted with ransomware, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to recover it in full. Even if a ransom is paid, the data returned is often corrupted or damaged. The best approach to recovering data is through an offline backup which does not contain the ransomware that is infecting your current system.
Antivirus programs can only identify and detect ransomware that is within their database. Until the program is updated by their developers, users can still be vulnerable to new ransomware. However, antivirus programs cannot do much once a user has clicked and installed the ransomware.
The most common sign of a ransomware infection is the appearance of a popup message requesting payment to unlock files and system. Other indications include unusual file extensions, inability to access your device, movement of location of files, and the need for a password to access your files.