Ransomware is one of the fastest growing cyber threats. Once it infects your devices and systems, it locks your files and demands a ransom to unlock them. It can also threaten to leak data to increase the pressure.

Although it can affect anyone, it can have a particularly disruptive impact on SMEs, leaving them inoperable for long periods. What’s more, the average ransom is estimated at $170,000. (1)

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1. Protection is the best prevention

It is crucial you know how to protect your information and devices from attacks. Here are some simple steps to improve security and reduce risks: 

  • Learn to identify phishing, the most frequent source of infection.
  • Stay alert when browsing the Internet and do not click on anything suspicious (links, pop-ups, banners…).
  • Chose strong passwords and never repeat them.
  • Download software or programs from official and trusted websites only.
  • Use robust antivirus programs.
  • Keep software up to date.
  • Back up your data regularly.

2. Be ready to act 

If you’ve been infected with ransomware, don’t pay the ransom and follow these steps to minimize the impact:

    -If you have an IT administrator, notify them immediately and follow their instructions. Otherwise, disconnect the infected devices from all networks to avoid it spreading.

    -Ask an IT expert to help you format the infected hard drive, reinstall the operating system and restore your information from a clean back-up or from files recovered with the help of No More Ransom:

  • Go to nomoreransom.org / Crypto Sheriff.
  • Upload two of your encrypted files, the ransomware note and any other information that could help identify the type of ransomware affecting you.
  • If the information provided matches the list of available decryption solutions, download it for free and follow the instructions.

The decryption tools that No More Ransom offers, free of charge
The decryption tools that No More Ransom offers, free of charge

 

3. Do the right thing 

If you’ve fallen victim to ransomware, report it to the authorities. They’ll investigate the case and take action to prevent similar attacks happening to others.

In today’s digital world, Santander is committed to helping society prosper by providing people with tools and knowledge to stay safe online. Part of this commitment includes raising awareness of ransomware, the tips to prevent it and the decryption tools that No More Ransom offers at no cost. No More Ransom is a public-private initiative funded by the National High-tech Crime Unit of the Netherlands’ police, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, Kaspersky and McAfee.

(1) 2020 weforum.org

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