Understanding Ransomware: How to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Attacks - Cobweb

Understanding Ransomware: How to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Attacks

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Creating a solid cyber security strategy is crucial, especially in the face of the rising threat of ransomware which has surged by 13% in the last five years. Recent data reveals that 4 in 10 victims fail to recover their data after an attack, and 1 in 5 organisations forced to deal with ransomware had to halt their operations.

While these statistics might seem daunting, having a plan in place is your best defence. The prospect of an attack becomes even more dangerous when you lack a comprehensive response strategy.

At our most recent networking event, Cobweb Connect, we had the privilege of hearing insights from Sarah Armstrong Smith, Microsoft’s Chief Security Advisor for Europe. She delved into incident response and crisis management, stressing the importance of preparing your employees to handle breaches. It’s safe to say our attendees absorbed a lot from Sarah’s experience, underscoring the need for decision makers to grasp the potential consequences of not having solid plans or incident response protocols in place.

So, how can you effectively prevent, detect, and respond to a ransomware attack?


  • Stay Informed: Stay updated on technology, software changes, and application updates. Understanding alterations and design differences in IT infrastructure can help identify vulnerabilities.
  • Employee Training: Equip your employees with the knowledge of cyber risks, including phishing emails, unvetted software downloads, and malicious attachments.
  • Incident Response Tests: Conduct regular incident response tests to evaluate your company’s preparedness and communication protocols.
  • Prioritise Back-ups: Safeguarding your data with regular back-ups is crucial. Having a clean back-up readily available ensures you can restore your information swiftly in case of an attack.


  • Early Signals: Familiarise yourself with the common indicators of a ransomware attack, like encrypted files, slow systems, and ransom notes.
  • Behavioural Analysis: Learn how ransomware attacks unfold so that you’re able to detect deviations from normal activity, triggering alerts faster.


  • Effective Communication: Establish open communication channels within your company, ensuring a prompt response to any breach. Every employee plays a role in safeguarding data and digital security.
  • Identify Affected Systems: Identify and isolate the IT software to compromised by the ransomware attack.
  • Engage with Experts: Involve cyber security experts in your response strategy to effectively combat ransomware attacks and understand where the source of where the ransomware came from.
  • System Remediation: Initiate system remediation using various strategies:
  1. Utilise clean versions from your data backups to restore your system.
  2. If no data backups exist, attempt to reconstruct lost data.
  3. As a last resort, consider paying the ransom, hoping for a decryption key.
  • Uncover Hidden Threats: Before restoring your systems, thoroughly inspect them for concealed malware left by ransom attackers. Additionally, ensure all patches are current to prevent vulnerabilities.

Understanding how to safeguard against ransomware risks is essential, and a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help ease these concerns. With Cobweb as your MSP, you can concentrate on your core business while we manage and monitor your IT systems, enhancing security. Our proactive approach shields your devices, endpoints, gateways, and cloud services from potential threats. Contact Cobweb to explore how our MSP solutions can fortify your cyber defences and become part of a community dedicated to a risk-free digital future.

Find out more about a Cobweb Managed Service