Home General Surviving the Ransomware Storm: Strategies for Effective Recovery

Surviving the Ransomware Storm: Strategies for Effective Recovery

by Olufisayo
ransomware recovery

Malicious attacks on computers today are happening in startups, businesses of all sizes, and organizations. These can be a liability to you or your organization since in these attacks, your data is usually encrypted, which messes up your privacy and operations.

What is a Ransomware Attack?

A ransomware attack usually happens when you lose access to your data on your computer by clicking on suspicious links or websites. When you click on the suspicious pages, your computer will be contaminated by a virus that will encrypt your data and keep you from accessing it.

In exchange for your access or for a decryption tool that will unlock the encrypted data, the attacker will ask for a ransom or payment in the form of money from the victims. Read on below to learn more about how ransomware attacks work, from infection to the release of your data.


The attacker will usually send you the ransomware through malicious email attachments, links, or compromised websites. Once you click through these links, your computer or network becomes infected. Your files and data become encrypted and you will no longer have access to them unless you comply with the ransom.

Ransom Note

The encryption becomes clear to you when a ransom note is displayed on your screen. The note will serve as a confirmation that your files are no longer accessible, then, instructions will be provided on how you can obtain the decryption key. The note will also give you instructions on how to go about the ransom payment which will be discussed further below.

Ransom Payment

The victim will usually be asked to pay the ransom through Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency. The amount will just depend on the attacker. When you’re a bigger organization and you are holding more important files, expect a larger ransom amount. Note that paying will also not guarantee a safe return of your data.

Data Release

When you pay the ransom, you will usually get the decryption key to access your data back again. You are actually very fortunate if this happens. Some attackers are just downright filthy. These cybercriminals wouldn’t mind not providing you with the promised decryption key even after you pay the ransom.

The worst part about these attacks is the encouragement the attacker gets when victims pay the ransom after receiving the threat. This encourages cybercriminals to continue what they do. Additionally, it may not necessarily lead to the recovery of the data lost.

How to Survive a Ransomware Incident

Ransomware attacks are often difficult to stop. However, there are proactive measures you can incorporate to stay safe despite these threatening cybercrimes. Regularly backing up your data and keeping software and systems updated are a must.

Also, try to use unique passwords, implement cybersecurity measures, and always educate your organization about the evolving risks of phishing emails and suspicious downloads. With that said, below are the steps you can take to outsmart ransomware cybercriminals.

Back Your Data Up

Have a robust backup system in place. Regularly back up your data, and store your backups offline or in isolated environments where ransomware cannot easily reach. In worst-case scenarios that your primary data is compromised, you can always restore it from a clean backup that was not reached by the virus or encryption.

Implement a Comprehensive Security Plan

Have a security plan in place to prevent ransomware attacks. Start by using up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software. Regularly patch and update your systems, and educate employees about the risks of ransomware. Include security awareness training during onboarding that discusses suspicious emails and activities that may lead to ransomware infections

Segment Your Network

Divide your network into isolated segments. This way, the attacker will not have easy access to the whole system during the attacks. If one part of your network is compromised, the ransomware won’t be able to reach the rest of the network.

Have an Incident Response Plan

Having a well-defined incident response plan is crucial to outsmart cybercriminals. Create a plan that outlines the steps to take when a ransomware attack occurs. This should include identifying the type of ransomware, isolating affected systems, notifying relevant authorities, and deciding whether to pay the ransom or rely on backups. Paying the ransom is usually not recommended.

Engage with Law Enforcement

Seek help from law enforcement agencies. The appropriate authorities can help track down the perpetrators and prevent further attacks because they also have experts in their team who are equipped with updated tools that can outsmart cybercriminals. Additionally, they may have insights or resources that can help you recover your stolen data.

Consider the Ethical Dilemma of Paying the Ransom

It’s advisable to explore all other recovery options before considering ransom payment. As discussed, paying the ransom may seem like a quick solution to regain access to your data but it also encourages criminals to continue their activities. There is also no guarantee that paying the ransom will result in the safe return of your data.

Seek Professional Assistance

Recovering from a ransomware attack can be complex. It is definitely not an easy job for an average Joe. Thus, it is better that you consider enlisting the help of cybersecurity professionals who specialize in ransomware recovery.

Review and Strengthen Security

After surviving a ransomware attack, take the opportunity to review and strengthen your organization’s security posture. What are the vulnerabilities that you have in your computer? Continuously monitor and update your security protocols with an IT expert.

Prepare for the Future

Ransomware attacks are continually evolving. It’s essential to stay vigilant and adapt your security measures accordingly. Regularly update your security policies and educate your team on emerging threats and best practices. For best results, have an in-house IT professional team that can keep your security measures updated especially if you are running a big business.


Surviving a ransomware attack is a challenging and stressful experience. But still, with the right strategies in place, it is possible to recover effectively. As mentioned above, prioritize data backups, implement a comprehensive security plan, and have a well-defined incident response plan to mitigate the impact of ransomware attacks.

Don’t hesitate to make an investment in robust cybersecurity measures to reduce the likelihood of falling victim to ransomware in the first place. Hire the right team that will help you prevent or survive cyberattacks. Also, stay informed and stay prepared. You’ll be better equipped to weather the ransomware storm.

Photo by Michael Geiger on Unsplash

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