Here’s the scenario. You are a content marketer. You have a number of high profile clients that you manage digital properties for. Part of that includes blogging, social media and other tools to gain relevant backlinks to support the goals of each of your clients. Then one day it happens. You download what you think is a legitimate piece of relevant content and it had some malware attached to it. Only this wasn’t your average piece of malware. This was Ransomware.
Ransomware is the average content marketer’s nightmare. Not only will it lock down your computer bringing your busy work day to a screeching halt, it will pester you for a long time. The annoying part about that constant pestering is the demand – not a pleasant request – for payment in the form of cryptocurrency to unlock or restore your computer. It could very well put a solid crimp in an otherwise great day of curating content for your clients.
What Can You Do To Prevent This From Happening?
You’ve likely heard this before but you are going to hear it again. Be careful what sites you download your relevant content from. For content marketers this is a huge red flag. You use public sources. Probably some of those sources have been targeted by hackers who have fed the malware and ransomware into their system. You now have to pay a lot more attention to what you are doing online because virtually any website is a target and that increases the risk.
However, you do have some options available to you. You’ve heard of preventative measures, right? Well, because content marketers search for information from several different websites, you really should take a closer look at the protection you have in place with your computer. We’re talking antivirus programs. But, in order for them to be effective, you have to keep them up-to-date and current. Frequent updates include protection from malware.
It’s also very likely you’ve heard this piece of advice as well. Keep backing up your computer. But when you do a back up, make sure it is stored on an external drive to prevent an infected computer from passing the virus on to the data that you’ll be backing up. In fact, regular back ups are a good practice to get into anyway because computers do crap out on their own over time. A recent backup means little data recovery downtime when clients are waiting.
Another great way to save you from having to resort to taking an unscheduled day or two off from serving your clients because of an infection is to tighten up your local network firewall. This reduces the access a ransomware virus can get into your system. Plus, if you use current and up-to-date software and programs, many of them have additional safeguards that make them difficult to hack into. A weak spot is all a computer virus needs to take hold.
Is your operating system current? If not, there is potential of a weakness developing that will provide an opening for an attack. For content marketers, time is money and the last thing you need is ransomware shutting you out of your computer for the rest of the day or a few days. Can you imagine? Malware has little if any respect for deadlines and tight budgets and this is very likely where it becomes the biggest pain in the butt. Update your O/S and avoid this.
What To Do If Your Computer Is Infected
Do not, under any circumstances, pay the ransom. If you need a good reason, do the math. How much content do you have to post for your clients to make back a ransom demand of say, $300 USD? Don’t fall for it. Instead of forking over a ransom payment, seek data recovery services. That’s because data infected by ransomware with encryption can sometimes be decrypted, according to ADRS (Aesonlabs Data Recovery Systems) experts.
Secondly, disconnect the infected computer or computers from your local network and the internet so they can be cleaned. Third, seek the advice of an IT support team if you have no clue where you are and what to do with your now deaf and mute computer. As frustrating as it may be to be part way through your client list and your computer locks you out, it is important to stay calm. Data recovery is still possible regardless of what the demands are.
The next thing you should do is pull out your most recent backup. You did do one, right? Well, assuming you did, restore your computer with the back up to wipe out the virus. If you happen to be providing content for high profile clients, it may be wise to have them contact a law enforcement agency to inform them of the cyber attack. The police may not be able to do much about it, but they will record your data so your attack becomes part of a future statistic.
Ransomware Can Really Wreck Your Day
Content creation and curation is tough enough with all the fake websites out there. You spend enough time weeding through them in search of reputable sources for your clients. What you don’t need it ransomware shutting you down because it will have an impact on your earning capacity until your computer data recovery is complete. Use common sense, be careful, keep your software, O/S and antivirus programs current and back up so you’ll be able to survive an attack.