School IT Blog

Steps To Help Prevent A Malware/ransomware Attack

Fri 11 August, 2017

One of the biggest risks for any company, is that of a malware or ransomware attack. For companies that hold sensitive information such as schools, hospitals and government agencies, this threat will be of even greater concern. Malware or ransomware attacks can target anyone, and the systems criminals use are becoming more and more sophisticated every day. Malware can critically damage your system and network, while ransomware will hold essential files in ransom until money is paid up. These security breaches are not only inconvenient and dangerous to online privacy, but they also have related costs associated with them. No matter the company’s size or industry, it’s essential to protect against these threats.

To prevent such attacks to your system, here are a few prevention tips to keep yourself and those who rely on you, safe.

Keep your operating system up to date. Always install updates to your system when prompted. This helps fix any patches that malware and ransomware typically take advantage of.

Backup files on a regular basis. Do this daily, and preferably both on the cloud and an external device. Keep in mind, though, if the external device is connected or you’re logged into your cloud database at the time of an attack, the ransomware can potentially infiltrate that as well. So be sure to log out and disconnect when you’re finished with your work.

Always use caution when opening emails, links, or files from senders you are not familiar with (or even senders you do know!). If anything looks suspicious, don’t open it. Check with the sender if it is someone you know to make sure the file is safe to open. It’s important to communicate this to your school’s staff and students as well. It is suggested that you should be particularly wary of ZIP or compressed files, as these are more likely to contain a virus.

Use an anti-virus software and keep it up to date. However, ransomware is notorious for going undetected by such software, so online vigilance is crucial to keeping your database safe.

If, in the unfortunate event you are attacked by ransomware, do not pay the ransom. Instead, visit No More Ransom, a collaborative project between cyber security teams and law enforcement that works to eradicate ransomware all together. Backing up your data on an external hard drive is one of the best ways to come out strong from a malware or ransomware attack. Simple vigilance is still the most effective strategy for prevention, so keep your staff and students informed of basic cyber security practices.

If you want to find out more about how to protect your school IT infrastructure from an attack, you can speak to one of our experts here.