No business wants to become a victim of a ransomware attack. This is when data on your computer or network is held hostage until you pay a ransom. In most cases – particularly human-operated ransomware (as opposed to automated ransomware) – there will be warning signs before a full-scale network attack is launched.
Signs of a potential ransomware attack
- Your system is less responsive than usual. This can be a sign that ransomware is affecting the system’s performance
- Repeated suspicious login attempts might be flagged. The occasional alert is normal, as it’s not uncommon for people to forget passwords, however many in a short space of time is a sign that someone might be trying to hack into your system
- Installation of unauthorised software suggests that attackers might be using this to hack into your systems. Keep a close eye out for the following software: MimiKatz, Process Explorer, PC Hunter, Process Hacker, or IOBit Uninstaller
- Failed attempts to access network shares or infrastructure applications suggests that criminals might already be attempting to hack into your system
- Small hacks such as encrypting a few devices or a few files within the network suggests they might be testing their systems before launching a full-scale attack
- File encryption. If all the files on your computer or in your network are encrypted and no longer accessible, it’s likely you have ransomware. You will know for sure when you receive the ransom demand.
- Locker ransomware. At this point it’s clear you have ransomware as a message demanding a ransom will appear and basic functions on your computer will be disabled. The only interactions possible are with the ransomware message to pay their demand.
There is ransomware protection and detection software available to help you avoid ransomware attacks, but it’s also important to have good cybersecurity practices generally. In particular, monitor your systems for the signs outlined above, and always be wary of opening attachments or clicking links in emails from unknown senders.