Ransomware Survival Guide 2024: Prevention, Detection, Decryption

Ransomware attacks are quite random nowadays. Every sector, from large organisations to local government entities, faces this severe issue. However, ransomware attacks are preventable. Before learning about prevention, let’s see what a ransomware attack is.

However, defending against ransomware is quite a hectic job, requiring an all-hands-on-deck approach from the entire organisation. This post will discuss the best ways to protect against ransomware attacks.

What is a ransomware attack?

If you wonder, is ransomware malware? You must know that ransomwareis a specific type of malware that blocks access to a device or file and continues until a ransom is paid. Hackers do this by encrypting files on the endpoint, blocking system access, and threatening to remove important files. Ransomware attacks can be a severe issue affecting emergency call centres, hospitals, or any other critical infrastructure.

But what does ransomware do, actually? To be honest, if the ransom is not paid, victims may lose access to essential files, and in some cases, the data may be permanently damaged or destroyed. Paying the ransom is not recommended, as it does not guarantee the recovery of files and may encourage further criminal activities.

Ransomware uses advanced encryption algorithms to lock files, making it extremely difficult for the victim to decrypt them without the proper key. But how can ransomware be delivered?

Well, ransomware can enter a system through various means, including phishing emails, malicious attachments, infected websites, or exploiting vulnerabilities in software. So, now you have a clear vision regarding What is a ransomware attack. Now, we will proceed towards how to stop ransomware.

How does ransomware spread?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that encrypts a user’s files or locks them out of their system, demanding payment for the release of the files or the restoration of access. But how does ransomware spread? Well, it can spread in various ways, and attackers often use multiple methods to increase their chances of success. Here are some common ways in which ransomware spreads:

Malicious Websites

How does ransomware spread : Malicious Websites

Visiting compromised or malicious websites can expose users to drive-by downloads, where ransomware is automatically downloaded. Thus, the malware gets executed on the user’s system without their knowledge.

Phishing Emails

How does ransomware spread : Phishing Emails

Attackers often use phishing emails to spread ransomware. These emails may contain malicious attachments, such as infected documents or executable files. Otherwise, phishing emails may also include links that, when clicked, lead to malicious websites or initiate ransomware downloads.

Exploiting Software Vulnerabilities

How does ransomware spread : Exploiting Software Vulnerabilities

Ransomware can exploit vulnerabilities in software or operating systems. Attackers use unpatched systems or outdated software to gain access and deploy the ransomware.

Employee Negligence

How does ransomware spread : Employee Negligence

Human error plays a significant role in the spread of ransomware. Employees may inadvertently click on malicious links or download infected files. Thus, they unknowingly introduce ransomware to the corporate network.

Watering Hole Attacks

In a watering hole attack, attackers compromise websites frequently visited by their target audience. When users visit these sites, they may unknowingly download ransomware.

However, protecting against ransomware involves a combination of user education, maintaining up-to-date software, using reputable security software, and implementing best practices for cybersecurity. Hence, regular backups of critical data are also crucial to mitigate the impact of a ransomware attack.

How to detect ransomware?

Detecting ransomware early is crucial for preventing its spread and minimising damage. Here are some strategies and techniques to help detect ransomware:

Network Traffic Monitoring

Make sure to regularly monitor network traffic for unusual patterns or communications with known malicious servers. Also, analyze traffic for a sudden increase in data transfer volume, especially during non-business hours.

User Behavior Analytics (UBA)

You can analyze user behaviour to detect anomalies such as unexpected access to sensitive files or unusual login times. Flag users are exhibiting behaviours consistent with a ransomware attack.

Behavioural Analysis

Companies should monitor for unusual or malicious network or individual systems behaviour. They must look for sudden spikes in file modifications, especially those involving encryption-like patterns. Thus, they can identify processes attempting to access a large number of files or encrypting files rapidly.

Endpoint Protection

You can use advanced endpoint protection solutions that can detect and block ransomware activity. Also, regularly update antivirus and anti-malware signatures to recognise the latest threats.

Backup Monitoring

Regular monitoring of backup processes makes sure that backup systems are not compromised. Also, verify the integrity of backups and their accessibility for rapid recovery.

How to prevent ransomware?

Though ransomware attacks can be pretty severe, some precautions still exist to prevent them. Below are the most effective ways to protect yourself against ransomware.

1. Develop Plans and Policies

Make sure to develop an incident response plan so that your IT security team knows well how they can prevent a ransomware situation. The plan must include communications and roles that should be shared during the attack. Also, a contact list of vendors and partners who should be notified during such conditions should be included. Also, make sure to create a company-wide policy. It helps to train employees to deal with such situations. 

2. Maintain Backups Carefully

Backing up important data is the most effective way to recover from a ransomware infection. However, to do this, you need to consider some things. The backup files should be protected and stored offline. Thus, those files won’t be targeted by ransomware attackers. You can use any cloud service to prevent a ransomware attack. Also, make sure to check the backups routinely.

3. Secure Your Endpoints

To prevent ransomware attacks, you must ensure your systems are well-configured for security. Secured configuration settings help to limit your organisation’s threat surface. Besides, it closes the security gaps in the default configurations.

4. Implement an IDS

IDS, or an Intrusion Detection System, mainly looks for malicious activity. Also, it compares network traffic logs to detect malicious activities. Hence, implementing a robust IDS helps to update signatures and alert the organization.

5. Practice Good IT Hygiene

For every organization, it’s essential to minimize the attack surface. Hence, it would help to get visibility for every job in your environment. Thus, you can protect the vulnerable attack surfaces. IT hygiene ensures complete network transparency. Therefore, you get the power to drill down and clean out your environment proactively. You can benefit your organization tremendously once you reach this level of transparency.

6. Enhance Email Security

Receiving a phishing email is the most common and primary step of the ransomware attack. Usually, these suspicious emails contain a URL or malicious link. These links deliver access to the recipient’s workstation to the hackers. You can have an email security solution that conducts URL filtering.

7. Implement a Robust zero-trust Trust Architecture

Organizations can improve their security by implementing a robust zero-trust architecture. By enabling such a security model, you will provide the best protection for your organization. Users inside and outside the organization must be authorized before accessing the network and data. You can also implement an identity access management program with this specific architecture. It allows the IT teams to control access to every application and system.

8. Establish Patch Management

To stop ransomware, you must establish a robust patch management process to ensure timely updates for all software and systems. Also, prioritize critical security patches to protect yourself against ransom attacks.

9. Implement Network Segmentation

To deal with ransomware, companies should implement network segmentation to limit the spread of ransomware within the network. The company infrastructure should restrict user access based on their roles and responsibilities.

10. Implement Network and Application Whitelisting

Prevention of malware attacks can be possible by implementing network and application whitelisting only to allow approved programs to run. This will prevent the execution of unauthorized or malicious software.


Ransomware attack is a severe issue and shouldn’t be handled lightly. However, now you know all the best possible ways to prevent yourself from this issue. Make sure to follow these tips carefully. However, we recommend getting expert help to deal with such problems. Thus, you can proactively deal with this problem.  


Is it illegal to pay ransomware?

In India, Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, defines the abetment of an offense as intentionally aiding, by act or illegal omission, the doing of an illegal act.

Does ransomware encrypt all files?

While some simple ransomware may lock the system without damaging files, more advanced malware uses cryptoviral extortion. It encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.

How many ransomware attacks will there be in 2023?

According to research, 114 publicly disclosed security incidents occurred in October 2023. And the year’s total is over 5 billion.

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