Gardaí in Donegal have issued crucial advice for Donegal businesses following a small number of ransomware attacks in the county in recent months.
A well-known Ballybofey company was the victim of a ransomware attack as recently as this week.
This European Cyber Security Month, gardaí are advising business owners and staff to listen to crime prevention advice to help limit exposure to a ransomware attack.
Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts a victim’s files. The attacker then demands payment from the victim in order to restore access to the data.
Victims are shown instructions on how to pay a fee to get the decryption key.
The impact of these ransomware attacks can be crippling to a business of any size as it prevents the victim from having access to essential data such as customer information or being able to carry out the most basic tasks such as accessing their emails.
Irish businesses of all sizes and private individuals can be affected and have their data encrypted with Malware, usually through targeted infected emails or unsafe websites.
• Always have a safe and up to date back-up which is kept separate from the network or computer system
• Only use official sources to update your antivirus software and computer system patches
• Don’t open attachments or links unless you know and trust the source
• Don’t mix data from your work and personal online activity
• Be careful when using remote access methods to your company network
• If you are the victim of a ransomware attack, please report it to your local Garda Station.
The following advice applies to those who have been the subject of a ransomware attack:
• Do not engage with cyber criminals or pay any ransom. There is no guarantee that your data will be released and you could receive more demands if you make the first payment.
• Seek necessary IT professional support to secure the network and data.
• Report the matter to the office of the Data Protection Commissioner.
• Report the matter to An Garda Síochána immediately.
Further details on ransomware and how to protect against is available on the Garda website: https://garda.ie/en/crime/cyber-crime/and on the Garda Síochána Donegal Facebook page.