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We adopt encryption technology when transmitting or saving information in the cyberspace to mitigate the risk of data leakage. However, cyber criminals apply this encryption technology to launch cyber attacks. There is much concern recently on the ransomware spreading rapidly across the globe through emails and compromised websites.

Ransomware is a malicious software that cyber criminals used to encrypt the files stored on the infected computer devices. These encrypted files are like hostage and the victims are required to follow the instructions of this malicious software and pay a ransom to decrypt them.

Security Tips to Effectively Defend Against Ransomware

  1. Backup important data frequently and keep the backup data disconnected from the computer
  2. Refrain from visiting suspicious websites or downloading any files from them
  3. Do not open any suspicious emails or instant messages, as well as the attachments and hyperlinks inside
  4. Check and keep your anti-malware program and signatures are up-to-date
  5. Install the latest patches for software in use

Causes of Infection and Impact

Causes of Infection

Open suspicious emails, or attachments and hyperlinks inside
Visit websites embedded with malicious programs
Download and install software or mobile apps that are embedded with ransomware

Impact

Files inside the computing device and other connected storage devices are encrypted. These data would be lost unless timely backup is available.

Preventive Measures

  • Backup important data frequently and keep the backup data disconnected from the computer
  • Refrain from visiting suspicious websites or downloading any files from them
  • Do not open any suspicious emails or instant messages, as well as the attachments and hyperlinks inside
  • Check and keep your anti-malware program and signatures are up-to-date
  • Install the latest patches for software in use
  • Disable macros for Microsoft Word, Excel and other office applications by default
  • Enable security features of the system and browser
  • Install software and mobile apps from trusted sources, do not install those apps if suspicious permission rights are required
  • For business operations with a higher risk of exposure to malware infection such as customer enquiry emails handling, a dedicated computer with no network drives and restricted network connectivity to internal network should be used to minimise the impact of infection and the handling staff should keep alert of possible infection