We’ve all been there, everything is running smoothly, and then someone opens a bad email attachment. Suddenly, you’re locked out of all your systems, and you’ve been sent demands, ads or worse from an unknown source.

If your systems are shutting down from an outside source, often the best way forward is to get IT support onto the case to clean out any malicious data and then provide you with security options to avoid it happening again.

While prevention is always better than cure, and hindsight is 20/20 – that doesn’t help right now.

What Exactly is a Crypto Virus?

A crypto virus or ransomware happens when the software is installed on your system and locks you out once activated. Then usually, a message is sent for you to pay money to get it unlocked or decrypted. Viruses can be installed in various ways, such as opening attachments on an email or using foreign hardware such as plugging in and opening a “found” USB stick.

Crypto attacks are reasonably common. Up to 35% of small and medium businesses have been victims of a crypto attack and ransomware, with 22% of SME’s needing to halt operations immediately to deal with the problem. This results in lost productivity and income.

Regardless of how it happened, don’t panic. Don’t contact any numbers or emails that have been sent to you, and certainly don’t give them any money.

Using IT support to get your systems back up

If you are the victim of a crypto attack, the first thing you need to do is contact IT support and talk with their security specialist. They can assist you in removing the problem and have your systems up and running as fast as possible.

Not all crypto attacks will destroy your systems, and many are reversible if you know what you are doing. However, if you’re not 100% sure of the specific crypto attack, trying any DIY could damage your systems further.

If you’re lucky, recovery is possible without completing a full restore of your system. However, be prepared for that eventuality, as many attacks are irreversible. Ideally, you’ll have a backup of your data, be it physical or cloud-based, that can be used to restore as much of your data as possible.

Whatever the outcome of an attack is, getting help from an IT security specialist is your best option. They will fix your system in the most appropriate way and can help by reducing the possibility of a repeat attack.

Prevention is Better than Cure

Once your systems are fully functional, it should be time to look for how the attack occurred and secure any weaknesses:

  • Perform regular backup of your data. This will limit the amount of data lost in any future attacks.
  • Regularly update your software. Software is patched to fix any security gaps that cryptovirus criminals have exploited.
  • Educate your workforce; when people know what has caused the attack, such as email attachments, they’ll be more alert to suspicious emails.
  • Listen to advice from IT security specialists; they’ll locate weaknesses in your system and inform you of ways to prevent further attacks from happening.

Getting Back on Your Feet

Don’t let one bad experience deter you from operating in the way you usually do. With your systems secured with software, employees on the lookout, your data backed up, and IT support at your call. Any further attacks on your systems will be minimal. However, like their organic cousins, computer viruses are ever adaptable, and you should remain vigilant against them.