You use your computer every day and rely on it for work and activities. However, malicious software, such as malware, can cripple your system and leave you with little data you need. Protecting your device and knowing the steps to get it back will keep you up and running so you can finish your projects on time. Here’s how to recover from ransomware.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
The definition of ransomware
Before you can fight it effectively, you need to know what ransomware is. This is malicious software that is usually sent to you via email or a website link. Once downloaded into your system, it takes over your data and locks it by encrypting itself in it. They send you a warning threatening to keep it or make what’s in it public unless you pay the amount of money they demand. However, it is possible that your files will remain damaged even if you send the cryptocurrency they request. Often they will drop your problem and leave you with corrupted information.
Isolate the system from the rest of the computers
When you get a message on your screen that you are infected, remove it from your network before it affects other people in the organization. The warning usually fills the entire monitor and is colored red. It can be accompanied by horns or bells to attract your attention. To isolate this machine, locate the cable that connects your equipment to the wall then release it from the back of the computer. Disconnect any external hard drives that may be connected to it to protect the data on it from encryption. You may want to have the disk professionally scanned for damage. If you’re on Wi-Fi and you’re having trouble disconnecting from the rest of the party, turn everything off. The sooner you achieve this, the sooner you can restore everything to normal and recover from ransomware.
Assess the damage
To recover more from a ransomware and check other computers, download reliable anti-malware software on the rest of your computers and run the full version to make sure the infection hasn’t spread to them yet. If you find one, extract it from the network as well. Despite what the original message says, avoid sending money to the hacker who broke the system. Instead, take as many notes as you can about the situation and contact your local police or the FBI. They can take the information you provide and help find out who the source is. It’s also worth seeing if your insurance company reimburses you for some of the recovery.
Start over with your system
There are many options available to you at this stage. Take the time to determine what will work best for your situation. There are programs in the market that claim to remove malware from your computer. The complexity of these harmful products will make their complete eradication virtually impossible. Once you’re sure your backups aren’t having any issues, use them to rebuild what you had on them. You can take the time to reformat what you already have. Keep in mind that the problem could be permanent for you if you go this route. You can also buy new hardware and install it in your equipment. Although it may be expensive upfront, you will be working with a fresh slate and assured of a simple data transfer.
Replace what you had before
You’ll have to start all over again, including the operating system you had before this started. Find a version of recovery software that can help you with this task. It must be formulated for your computer, so it is advisable to check with your equipment manufacturer. Think about the apps and programs you had there and find where you can install them again. This step will need to be repeated with documents, spreadsheets, photos, songs, and other important items that were once kept on the hard drive. This is why having a backup in place, preferably offsite, is so vital. If you ever encounter corruption on your machine, you will have a clear copy of your device at your fingertips. This will save you from losing things that are priceless to you. When recovering from ransomware, make sure these saved files are free from the malware that infected your system or you will start the whole process from scratch. This may require you to take all external drives to a professional to have them investigated.
Find out if something has been stolen from you
Losing your computer can be a devastating experience in itself. Having the data you have stored there stolen and potentially exposing it to the public can be even more devastating. Once you’ve rebuilt your computer, investigate your firewall to see if it says anything was downloaded from there. If you find that there is data left, you should contact the police or the FBI and let them know what happened. This would be theft on your part and will need to be prosecuted if they are able to find out who hacked into your system. Be sure to follow them to find out how their progress is with the case and if they have any other questions for you that might help them solve the crime.
Investigate how it happened so you can avoid it in the future
Contact your family and friends whose email addresses you have saved in your device and notify them of what has happened. The hackers who developed this will steal this information from you and also trick them into doing what you did. You should also check the email system of any social media account you have for the same. When your computer is clean and working properly again, figure out where you found the file that started it all. Study how to prevent this event from happening again in the future in the latest episodes of malware introduced on the Internet. Keep up to date with the latest programs that prevent this kind of thing from happening.
Research what are the best antivirus and anti-malware software. These should be kept up to date at all times to ensure that you have a protected and working system. If this happened in a business environment, educate your employees on what to look for when they receive an email from outside the organization. Detail for them what they need to be aware of and let them know if they think they have received something very suspicious. Together you can determine if this is a legitimate note or if it is something that needs to be addressed to prevent a breach like this from happening again.
Your computer is an important tool that you must use for your work or to keep your personal files. Malware that embeds itself in your system can cause you a lot of stress and cost you thousands of dollars to fix. Being aware of the emails and links being sent to you and having the right protection programs in place to prevent them can keep you operating for a long time and defending your budget.
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Last updated May 1, 2022.