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How Pros With a Diploma in Cyber Security Deal With Ransomware

March 7, 2018

network administration diploma

Ransomware has only been on the scene for a few years, but it’s developed quite the reputation. A 2017 ransomware attack notoriously locked down Britain’s National Health Service, as well as companies like FedEx, Honda, and a number of other influential organizations around the world. This attack left crucial files locked away until IT teams could resolve the issue or until payment was made. Though most organizations did not pay to restore their access to their systems, the hackers did make more than $100,000 from their efforts.

The same model of ransomware attack, where files or systems shut users out until payments are made, are likely to continue to be a problem in future, and there’s a good chance new cyber security professionals could run up against this type of attack before long.

Curious about how best to deal with ransomware? Here are the tactics used by leading professionals.

Professionals With Training in Network Security Evaluate Based on the Type of Ransomware

To address a ransomware attack, a network security professional must first understand the options they have available. These will depend almost entirely on the type of ransomware that is being employed.
The first type is known as “screen locking” ransomware. This freezes users out of their computer, sometimes along with a fake note – allegedly from a government agency – telling users that they have been caught engaging in illegal behaviour and must pay a fine to reclaim access to their files. Recovery from this type of intrusion may require that the system be restored from a backup file. Generally, this is considered to be the more manageable form of ransomware.

The other kind is known as “encrypted” ransomware. While it is generally possible to navigate the system with this kind of ransomware, the files present on the device will get locked up, preventing user access. This type is particularly nefarious because the only possibility to reclaim the files lies in paying the ransom. Failing to do so would mean losing access to the files forever.

You can learn more about the different types of ransomware in this video from tech company Kaspersky Lab:

Fortunately, the difference between the two kinds of ransomware are quite obvious just based on what a user is able to do on an infected device. After training in network security, you should expect to spend very little time on diagnosis.

Getting a Diploma in Cyber Security Will Teach You the Power of Prevention

The devices that fell to the WannaCry and other ransomware attacks all had one thing in common: they were outdated, lacked essential security updates, and often did not have any installed antimalware solutions to prevent a takeover. This is illustrative of one of the important lessons learned through pursuing a diploma in cyber security: prevention is a far better solution than trying to repair a problem later on.
Individuals with certified training relating to encryption, physical and virtual data security, and other important elements of keeping networks safe are the best defence for many businesses against these real, looming threats. In completing this type of training, you can develop the skills necessary to build the secure networking solutions so badly needed by businesses all over the world, and likely secure yourself a stable and fulfilling career in the process.

Learning to prevent ransomware attacks is an important part of the cyber security expert's job

Learning to prevent ransomware attacks is an important part of the cyber security expert’s job

The One Thing a Network Administration Diploma Can’t Tell You: Whether or Not to Pay

There is much debate in the field of digital security as to whether ransomware attackers be paid. On the one hand, it may provide them with greater incentive to engage in future attacks, and could even fund their development of more sophisticated tools to do so. On the other, businesses need their data, and may value it more than principle or the money it would cost to save it.

Ultimately, this is a decision that lies with the owners of a business – it should never fall to a network security specialist, and there is no hard and fast correct answer. What network administration professionals can contribute is insight into the type of problem an infected device has and the possibilities it allows, which can then be used to inform decisions. This expert guidance is a great asset to those companies unlucky enough to face a ransomware attack, and can cement a network security professional’s highly respected status within the organization.

Do you want to learn more about securing networks?

Complete your network administration diploma with Willis College!

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