Ransomware data recovery is the process of returning to standard operations after a ransomware attacker has successfully encrypted or locked your data and demanded payment for restoring your data to normal. This popular form of cybercrime is on the rise, and the average ransomware victim suffers 18 days of outages. Can you imagine being told as a business owner that you have to keep up operations for over two weeks with no access or very limited access to your data?
Fortunately, many prevention and detection measures have been developed over the years to keep up with these attacks, so paying the ransom is not your only option. Even with defense measures in place, however, you may still find your business among the 59% of businesses that reported they had been victimized by ransomware. This is why we include recovery as part of our Ransomware Protection as a Service™ (RPaaS™) at InterVision. In this blog, we will review how a ransomware attack takes control of data and what the ransomware data recovery process looks like.
What Does a Ransomware Attack Do?
A ransomware attack limits or completely prevents a user from accessing their data, either by encrypting the user’s files or locking access to the whole system. The criminals then leave a virtual ransom note with a demand for payment. Once they receive payment, they promise to provide a keycode to decrypt your data or unlock access to your system. However, even if you pay the ransom, there’s no guarantee you will get all your data back. In fact, only 8% of victims that pay the ransom get all of their data back.
Does Ransomware Steal Data?
Yes, sometimes ransomware will steal your data. The more common practice involves simply encrypting a user’s data while not removing it from its home system. Although, our InterVision team is now starting to see ransomware steal data as well. These types of attacks will look something like this:
- The attacker accesses the victim’s system.
- Before encrypting any data, the ransomware will search for valuable data and then send copies of that data to the attacker.
- After fishing for data to use as leverage, the ransomware encrypts or locks the victim’s system and leaves a ransom note with instructions for payment.
- If the victim refuses to pay, the attacker uses the stolen data as blackmail. They may threaten to expose non-compliant data, share private information with the public, or sell company secrets to competitors.
- The victim then has to seriously consider the consequences of not paying the ransom and if they can take the risk of their stolen data being released.
How to Remove a Ransomware Virus and Restore Files
Even the most comprehensive preventative measures cannot truly stop ransomware 100% of the time, which is why a data recovery plan is vital to strong security information and event management (SIEM). At InterVision, our RPaaS team has found continuous success in the ransomware data recovery process by assisting our clients through the following steps:
- Initiate Incident Response Plan – Your business should have an incident response plan in place to reference as soon as an attack happens. If you don’t yet have a plan like this, it’s best to reach out to an experienced cybersecurity company (like InterVision) to prepare one for your business’s unique needs. Some common components we add to our clients’ incident response plans include:
- Ways in which the response strategy lends itself to business goals
- Who has what role in the recovery process
- A clear outline of steps to take and when to take them
- Alternative methods of communication and system access while the data is being recovered
- Contact Experts – Important personnel must be notified about the attack, such as executive leadership, public relations, cyber forensic investigators, legal counsel, insurance providers, any ransomware data recovery services your company uses, etc. Each person or department should look to the incident response plan for guidance on how to minimize the negative impact of the attack.
- Halt Replication and/or Backup – If the infected system cannot be completely shut down due to ongoing investigation, your team should take all the necessary steps to pause any replication or backup processes. Think of this as quarantining the sick part of your system away from the healthy part to prevent cross-contamination.
- Make a Decision – This is where your team has to decide how to proceed. No decisions should be made until there is a full understanding of the damage caused by the attack. Once that is established, the team must decide if they only need to repair one infected application or database, or if the system needs a partial or full failover (which involves switching over to clean backup systems).
- Initiate Recovery or Restoration – The end goal of this process should be to restore the most recent, clean versions of all compromised data. Many cloud-based systems offer replication, which keeps a record of several snapshots of each data point throughout a 12-hour period, approximately. If replication fails or all of these snapshots are also infected, you can look to your regular backups. It’s best to retrieve this data in an isolated virtual environment, which will allow thorough inspection for any traces of remaining infections during the ransomware removal process.
InterVision: The Best Ransomware Data Recovery Tool
Getting targeted by a cyberattack is not a matter of if—it’s a matter of when. This is why we created RPaaS: to provide true end-to-end cyber threat protection. With 24/7/365 support, dedicated security and recovery team members, and our commitment to rapid response and support, you can rest a little easier knowing your data is safe.
To start, we lay a foundation of Security Operations as a Service (SOaaS) to identify and protect against attacks before they begin. Our ransomware recovery as a service, which includes DRaaS and BaaS, steps in when an infection is detected to initiate proper response and recovery protocols. And throughout the entire process, a virtual Chief Information Security Officer (vCISO) will oversee the response execution, and then analyze and advise on improvements to your business risk mitigation for the future.
Ready to fortify your business’s defensive measures against ransomware and other cyber threats? Contact us, and together we can improve and grow your IT operations.