An easy cure to ransomware that people forgot about

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One of the police departments that was hit with ransomware in Massachusetts didn’t pay the ransom, yet were able to get their files unlocked.  How did they do this, when even computer experts acknowledge the encryption is nearly unbreakable?

What they turned to was something quite basic.  They had a long-standing policy of nightly backups of all police data.   They also had a savvy IT manager – the minute he realized users were being infected he alerted all the users so additional files didn’t get encrypted.   He then turned to the handful of users with encrypted files – and restored their mailboxes to last evening’s backup.

A smart IT organization didn’t pay a ransom yet got themselves running again – how did they do it?Click To Tweet

Yes, these users lost part of a day’s worth of files – but they quickly minimized the damage and avoided spending thousands in ransom dollars that the department didn’t have.  While the ransomware incident was a sobering reminder of how quickly cybercrime can impact anyone, they relied on a fairly basic technology – backup – to fight off the attack.

While backup is one way to recover from a cyberattack, there are other ways to prevent them from occurring.  In future blogs, we’ll look at those protections.


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