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Conduct ransomware removal using these 5 essential tactics 

Ransomware is designed to spread throughout an entire network as quickly as possible – here’s how to stop it

florida pays malware ransom
Image: Corporate Bytes

In order to minimize damage as much as possible, networks undergoing a cyberattack must undergo swift operations for threat removal. Losses inflicted from cyber threats grow exponentially as more and more data and network components become compromised, which means action must be taken immediately.

Modern cybersecurity principles dictate that several strategies are effective in containing and eliminating ongoing attacks. Regarding ransomware removal, here are 5 essential tactics network managers must incorporate.

Isolate and Contain the Cyberattack

Ransomware is designed to spread throughout an entire network as quickly as possible, which means isolation is the first course of action for dealing with the threat. All computers that are currently infected with the virus should immediately be disconnected from the internet as well as all other systems within the intranet.

For further safety, any computers that have made direct requests that involve file transfers with infected systems should also be disconnected. Removing connections is critical as it removes all avenues for the virus to spread further.

Avoid Paying the Ransom at All Costs

Paying the ransom comes with no guarantees, nor does it ensure the threat is neutralized, which is why experts suggest avoiding caving into demands. The hackers have all the leverage in a cyberattack scenario; there are many cases where payment is made and no change occurs. Often, paying ransom only causes a temporary lifting of the infection.

Once demands are met, the original cause of the virus remains, ready to reemerge once the hackers feel the possibility for another payment is likely. Requests should be ignored, with all attention and resources focused on removing the cause of the threat.

Wipe and Backup Infected Computers

The only surefire way to remove a threat once it’s already completely infected a computer is to wipe and reset, which is why it’s incredibly important to already have robust backup procedures in place. Erasing all the data from the computer and reinstalling the operating system ensures all files, including the one that caused the infection, are removed.

From there, enforcing backup protocols that reinstall all essential services and data is an optimal next step. If there are already strong backup protocols in place, this should only take a few hours of inconvenience, which means total losses from the attack are contained.

Slowly and Carefully Reconnect the Network

Once previously infected computers are backed up, reconnection to the internet and intranet should be done slowly and carefully. It’s essential to monitor whether or not any of the computers become reinfected, which means that the attack is still present in the backup files.

If all computers connect successfully without any reemergence of ransomware, it is fair to assume the vulnerability was a result of files processed after the last backup state. However, if computers become reinfected, it’s highly likely the recent backup state includes the virus. The next steps should involve continuously using older and older backup states until one without the threat is installed.

Pinpoint Original Source and Act Accordingly

Once all the computers are free of the ransomware, pinpointing the original source of the attack is incredibly important. By understanding where the attack originated, vulnerabilities within the network are highlighted. When the source is found, an extensive review of how to conduct processes to prevent the same kind of attack occurring in the future must begin.

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