How to
Ryan Harnedy
Jun 2016

124 Tips to Protect Your Company from Ransomware

It’s the ticket every IT admin dreads. “Hi, I clicked on an attachment in an email and now all of my files are encrypted and it’s saying I need to pay something called Bitcoin?”

Once a minor nuisance, ransomware has seen tremendous growth over the past few years. InfoBlox reported that ransomware domains are up 3,500% in Q1 of 2016.

Last year alone CryptoWall, one of the more popular flavors of ransomware, cost users over $325 million, and there’s no reason why the next wave of ransomware won’t come with a much higher decryption fee. Healthcare in particular has seen such a huge rise in ransomware that we developed a guide for protecting yourself from ransomware.

Healthcare Ransomware Guide Learn how to react to ransomware attacks and avoid them in the first place.

Get the Guide specifically for healthcare IT pros.

Given the high cost that accompanies a ransomware attack it’s important to keep your users educated, aware, and protected. To help you out, we’ve collected 124 tips and strategies to help keep your data unencrypted and your users safe, productive, and happy.

We've split the list up into two groups: tips that geared more towards your end users, and tips you can use to keep both them and your company safe.


Photo by Dai Ke

Tips for your users

4 Ways to Protect Against the Very Real Threat of Ransomware

This post from Kim Zetter at Wired gives an excellent overview of who gets targeted in ransomware attacks and includes a great reminder for your end users to be very skeptical about any email or link you're not 100% sure of.

3 Ways to Avoid Ransomware

Kim Komando’s recommendations are directed towards less technically savvy users, but her advice is rock-solid. I especially like her recommendation about setting up your computer to allow automatic security updates. The less you have to think about when it comes to security, the better.

22 Ransomware Prevention Tips

State of Security’s ransomware advice is also geared towards the end user with a lot of great advice, my personal favorite being “Think twice before clicking.”

7 Ways to Avoid Ransomware Right Now

By far my favorite piece of advice from this list by the Huffington Post is to be suspicious of any Word document sent through email, and to not follow through on opening any docs that ask you to enable macros. If you get an email you’re not sure about, it’s always worth checking with the sender.

5 Practical Tips to Avoid Ransomware in Your Email

WeLiveSecurity offers a lot of helpful hints in this post, but the best takeaway is to limit who has access to your email address, which is seemingly simple advice that's often overlooked. Cyber criminals will usually check sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to get your personal information, so be wary of posting your email in publicly accessible places.

10 Tips to Protect Your Files from Ransomware

This list by Kaspersky recommends if you get hit with ransomware to try to identify what type you were affected by. It could be an older version and there might be a decryptor tool you can use to recover your files.


Photo by Torkild Retvedt

Tips For Your IT Team

8 Tips for Blocking the Locky Ransomware Virus

Greenview Data's post is specifically designed to protect against the Locky strain of ransomware, but most of the advice will apply to any ransomware flavor. Each of these eight tips are worth reading but pay especially close attention to their advice about enabling VBA macros, it can really limit ransomware's ability to infect your users' computers.

9 Tricks Ransomware Uses to Fool You

This post has ten different kinds of ransomware to watch out for. One thing in particular to watch out for is that ransowmare will encrypt data on shared and network drives as well as local drives.

Your Money or Your Data: 6 Ways to Protect Against Ransomware Attacks

Iron Mountain’s post is mainly focused on how to make sure your backup is ready for a ransomware attack. They make great points about replicating your backups on multiple devices.

5 Tips to Avoid Getting Hit by Ransomware

Avira’s list does a great job of covering ransomware preparation and readiness and makes a great point about the importance of keeping all of your security software patched and up to date.

Cryptolocker: 10 Steps to Avoid the Ransomware Virus

CryptoLocker may be dead, but this list of tips from The Guardian includes great advice about blocking any .exe files that are sent over email. Blocking executables can prevent users from downloading and running a variety of ransomware viruses.

10 Tips for Companies to Avoid and Stop Ransomware

While I would prefer it if this were not a slideshow, there are a lot of great tips here in eWeek’s business-focused list. They're all worth reading, but I like that they especially call out the value of using multiple types of security tools, such as pairing antivirus with behavior-based security protection.

10 Ways to Prevent Ransomware from Damaging Your Business

TalkTechtoMe’s advice on avoiding ransomware includes the very wise suggestion that, as an IT pro, you should consider blocking executables from launching certain user profile folders. If a program is running from a location programs don’t normally run from, chances are it’s malware.

Ransomware: 7 Tips for Recovery and Prevention

In this post, Robert C. Covington at Computerworld explains how to recover in the event of a ransomware attack. I’d underscore his recommendation around the importance of knowing who is using your computers. Keeping computers locked down when not in use will help keep unauthorized personnel from using them and potentially causing a breach.

8 Tips For Preventing Ransomware

The best piece of advice in this business-focused list is about the importance of user-training. Training and re-training your users about good security habits is one of the best ways to keep ransomware off your computers.

Ryan Harnedy

Ryan Harnedy

Ryan writes about how to make cybersecurity make sense to end users and keep employees safe from ransomware, malware, and phishing attacks. He enjoys decoding buzzwords and sharing security tips that users might actually follow.


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