Ransomware Removal: How to Handle Ransomware Attacks (2024)

Ransomware Removal: How to Handle Ransomware Attacks

Detecting a ransomware infection in its early stages can prevent threat actors from stealing, locking, and leaking your data. When your systems fail to detect the cyberattack in time, immediate action is required to ensure you can restore access to your data and prevent future attacks.

At Proven Data, we’ve helped thousands of clients with professional cybersecurity services and provide complete ransomware removal and secure data recovery. This is followed by an in-depth digital forensics report which informs how the breach happened and the system’s vulnerabilities.

Our cybersecurity experts are constantly learning about the new threats attack methods and tools hackers use to spread ransomware. Here’s our complete guide on how you should handle a ransomware attack.

How to handle a ransomware attack ​

As soon as you realize or suspect that you are a victim of a cyberattack, your best course of action is to leave the infected machines and contact help. This is because leaving the infected machine untouched preserves evidence and ransomware traces that could allow forensic analysts to determine the variant and possibly develop a decryption key. Turning the machine off or deleting files destroys that evidence.

Also, unless you already have an incident response team, contacting expert ransomware removal service providers is the best chance of containing the attack and recovering access to encrypted files.

Here is our list of what to do when you realize your system has been infected by ransomware:

  • Leave the infected machine the way it is – Don’t turn off the computer nor delete the encrypted files.
  • Call Proven Data’s 24/7/365 ransomware removal service for immediate assistance and response.
  • Preserve any evidence of the attack. Don’t delete any files, and document the first indicators of compromise (IOC). 
  • DO NOT PAY THE RANSOM. Paying the ransom does not guarantee that the attacker will restore access to your files or remove the malicious files. You can check our in-depth guide on what happens if you pay a ransom demand.

Ransomware removal process

Ransomware, by definition, is a type of malware that demands payment in exchange for a decryption key. Unfortunately, the cost of the ransom is always higher than whatever is demanded – ransomware can cost your data, your business integrity, and your company’s future. 

An incident response plan and regularly updated backups can prevent these losses and keep your business going for years.

However, if you don’t have a plan yet, then the ransomware removal process is your chance to restore your business. This process aims to remediate any prior malicious activity performed by the attacker, allowing the environment to be ready for data restoration.

Proven Data’s ransomware removal experts are experienced in incident response and remediation. This means that we can perform every service related to ransomware removal, from the incident investigation and forensics reports to ransomware data recovery.

Steps for ransomware removal process:

Proven Data’s experienced security professionals can ensure the best approach to your needs, minimizing downtime and patching your system to prevent new cyberattacks. Since each ransomware works differently, our experts use different approaches for each system and malware variant. However, the base of the work is similar, involving:

  1. Identify the ransomware
  2. Assess the type and extent of damage
  3. Detect how the attack happened
  4. Remove the ransomware and patch vulnerabilities
  5. Unlock encrypted data

Important: This is an example of a possible approach. Once you contact our experts and approve the service, it will be unique. This means that the steps can change to adapt to each network, machine, data type, and ransomware variant.

Steps for ransomware removal process:​ Identify the ransomware Assess the type and extent of damage Detect how the attack happened Remove the ransomware and patch vulnerabilities Unlock encrypted data

How much does ransomware removal cost

To fully understand the costs associated with removing ransomware from your environment, we will break it down into two stages: ransomware removal and vulnerability scanning.

  1. Ransomware removal

Ransomware malware removal includes scanning computers and servers for the following: 

  • Malware
  • Rootkits & back doors
  • Malicious registry entries
  1. Vulnerability scanning

Vulnerability scanning includes:

  • Scanning IP address to discover open RDP ports
  • Scanning devices connected to the network to check for known exploits

A professional ransomware removal service, that includes the full ransomware recovery (data decryption, ransomware removal, fixing corrupt files, etc.) cost can only be estimated after an evaluation. The final removal service cost will vary depending on the hours worked and the difficulty of the ransomware removal and recovery service.

After the ransomware removal process ends, our experts also ensure that the decrypted data is accessible. Since ransomware often corrupts files, a ransomware data recovery service includes restoring files. 

How does ransomware infect a network

Understanding the attack vectors that the ransomware actors exploited is critical to securing your network.

There are three common ways ransomware attacks happen:

Open RDP ports

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is the native Windows remote access method that allows a user or administrator to remotely connect to a computer or server from a location on another network. 

This is the most common attack vector for ransomware that we’ve observed, especially with many businesses having a growing remote workforce. 

If your RDP access is unsecured or the password is weak, it is easy for a determined attacker to breach your network. RDP port settings are viewable from your firewall’s port forwarding rules.

Phishing emails

Emails that contain malware or malicious links that install a ransomware program or remote access Trojan on the computer when clicked are some of the most common gateways for ransomware. All it takes is one member of your organization to click the link or download the infected files. Then the malware can spread undetected like wildfire through your network.

Exploit kits

These are advanced malware tools that allow cybercriminals to target victims through security gaps. Even in well-known software and hardware from technology manufacturers. This potential vulnerability can be exploited if you don’t regularly install software and hardware security updates. For example, there’s an outdated VMware ESXi Hypervisor vulnerability, and they often get through unpatched Microsoft Exchange exploits.

How to detect ransomware

Ransomware spreads fast. Once it gets into one device of your network, you need to act quickly to prevent further damage. 

Here are some early signs of a ransomware attack for you to watch out for:

1. Antivirus and anti-malware software warning

When you use powerful and updated security software, it’ll scan every website and file you access. And then they will alert you to the malicious file trying to access your system. Unfortunately, some ransomware can bypass the most sophisticated antivirus. So you must also pay attention to the other signs.

2. Overworked CPU

Ransomware can affect your computer’s functions, increasing CPU activity and disk activity. Which will overheat the device. You can notice it by the loud noise coming from the fan.

3. The ransomware changes the file’s extension

Check your file names for any added extensions. For example, you can name an image Photo01.png. The .png is the file extension. When ransomware gets into your computer or networking, it adds its own extension after the file extension. This is also how you can know which ransomware bypassed your security system.

4. Encrypted files

After a cyber-attack by ransomware, your files are hostage. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files and demands a ransom to give a key for decryption

Don’t pay the ransom! You can learn more about what to do in case of a ransomware attack in the Ransomware Guide by CISA, a governmental entity that investigates these crimes.

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