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Ransomware Remediation: 5 Steps to Add to Your Disaster Recovery Plan

Ransomware attacks and remediation cost an average of over half a million dollars in expenses. However, if the correct steps are taken to safeguard data, companies shouldn’t have to pay the ransom, experience pricey remediation, or suffer operational setbacks and downtime.

Below, we’ll walk through the five steps you can take to recover from a ransomware attack and how to establish a smart ransomware remediation plan.


What Is Ransomware Remediation?

Ransomware remediation is the process of removing ransomware from infected networks. Any ransomware remediation plan should aim to promptly assess the effects of and recover from a cyberattack. IT teams must thoroughly plan and test their response strategy to guarantee quick recovery and limited downtime.

Ransomware remediation can be expensive and time-consuming if you don’t have a strong Ransomware Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) in place. That’s why we’ve put together five steps you might consider taking to create an effective ransomware remediation plan.


Step 1: Identify the Infected Station

If you believe your system has been infected with ransomware, you should immediately disable any transactions or logins online. It’s possible that the hacker already has access to this information, but if not, you don’t want to give them more leverage. 

Next, you should identify the device(s) infected with the ransomware. Some signs to look for that could indicate a device is infected are: 

  • Decreased battery life
  • Lower than usual system performance
  • Unrecognizable software installed
  • New and unfamiliar accounts created
  • Suspicious amounts or types of network traffic
  • Backups that have been changed or deleted
  • Random spikes in disk activity

If a backup has been altered, it could be a financially devastating consequence. It’s crucial to have all the right measures in place to safeguard your backups from ransomware attacks.


Step 2: Isolate the Infected Party From Your Network

The next step in ransomware remediation is to isolate the infected device(s) from your network. There are a few ways you can do this.

  1. Unplug the infected device from the internet, such as removing an ethernet cable.
  2. Consider taking the network offline at the switch level if many systems or subnets appear to be affected.
  3. Isolate specific systems that are used often in daily operations.

While doing the above may isolate an infected device, keep in mind a hacker may still monitor activity within the device to see if they’ve been detected.


Step 3: Determine the Type of Ransomware Infecting Your System

Since there are several types of ransomware, it’s impossible to fully remediate the infected systems without first identifying the type of malware plaguing your system. Some types of ransomware and their characteristics are:

  • Crypto ransomware. Crypto ransomware is what it sounds like: a type of malware that encrypts your data and holds it for ransom. You may see your files but won’t be able to access them. The hacker will display a message or a deadline on your screen of when they want their payment. They’ll claim that if you fail to comply, they will leak or delete the data.
  • Scareware. Scareware is fake software that demands payment to fix problems it claims to have found on your computer. This may include viruses or, ironically, malware. Some scareware locks the computer or floods the screen with pop-up notifications.
  • Locker ransomware. Locker ransomware disables all computer operations, except for the ability to send money to the hacker. For instance, the desktop may be unavailable to you while the keyboard and mouse are only partially functional. Most locker ransomware, however, only seeks to lock the user out and it’s less likely that your data will be completely destroyed.

When identifying the type of ransomware that has infected your system(s), look for suspicious behavior or messages on your device.


Step 4: Consider Your Options for Remediation

Ransomware remediation can be handled in a number of ways, and determining which option is best for your organization will boil down to available resources. Some options you might consider include:

  1. Trying to remove the infection yourself
  2. Recovering from unaltered backups
  3. Utilizing a Ransomware Recovery as a Service Provider
  4. Paying the ransom

In 2022, 59% of victims declined to pay the ransom after being attacked by ransomware. Why? Many companies feel as though paying the ransom won’t guarantee that they get their files and data back. Plus, thanks to the requirements set out by ransomware coverage insurers, more organizations are following stricter backup protocols that allow for easier system restoration in the event of an attack.


Step 5: Alert the Proper Channels

While refusing to pay the ransom has both pros and cons, we recommend that you contact authorities, internal and external stakeholders, and prepare a communication strategy across your company. Once you’ve experienced an attack, you need to report it to the FBI, CISA, or U.S. Secret Service.


How To Prevent Ransomware Incidents in the Future

While there’s no guarantee that your network won’t face more malware threats going forward, the best approach to ransomware remediation also involves the proactive measures you can take to mitigate ransomware from infecting your devices in the first place. You can start by:

  • Identifying vulnerabilities in your devices and network
  • Strengthening your ransomware recovery plan
  • Working with a managed service provider (MSP) to monitor your network

The Best Approach to Ransomware Remediation

As stated, ransomware comes in many different forms. That’s why it’s vital to not miss anything before, during, and after an attack; otherwise, you risk getting hit again or not ridding your devices of the infection properly.

While all that may seem overwhelming, you have options that can lessen the burden the looming cyber threats pose. At Tec-Refresh,  we know just how difficult and frustrating it can be to deal with an unexpected ransomware attack, which is why we created a comprehensive guide to assist with your ransomware remediation. 

Get your copy of our free Ransomware Recovery Checklist today.