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      Don’t Fall Victim to These Prolific Ransomware Attacks

      Understanding what ransomware is -- and isn't -- can go a long way towards helping your company reduce the risk of attack. Stay informed and share the knowledge with your staff!  

      Don’t Fall Victim to These Prolific Ransomware Attacks

      Understanding what ransomware is — and isn’t — can go a long way towards helping your company reduce the risk of attack. Stay informed and share the knowledge with your staff!  

      If you’re like many small to mid-size business owners, you may be thinking that your company is safe from ransomware attacks, with the idea that these cybercriminals are only going after larger organizations. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth, as ransomware attacks are being recorded against organizations of all sizes. The Better Business Bureau estimates that ransomware is costing small businesses an average of nearly $50,000 each year, money that could better be spent growing the business. What’s more? Almost 80% of these small businesses need their data so desperately that they would pay a significant amount of money to regain access — making them a perfect target for enterprising cybercriminals.

      What is Ransomware?

      Ransomware is malicious software that is designed to block access to a computer system or server until a sum of money has been paid. This software encrypts files and entire computer systems with a password that will (hopefully!) be unlocked once the hacker has received their payment. Plus, paying the ransom can be difficult as hackers often request payment in secure cyber payment methods such as Bitcoin to reduce the possibility that authorities will be able to track their movements.

      Why is Ransomware a Major Risk for Organizations?

      When your company is the victim of a ransomware attack, there are no guarantees that you will regain access to your business systems, servers and sensitive customer data — ever. While hackers claim to be able to provide encryption keys, the barrier to entry for creating ransomware is extremely low which makes it more likely that your cybercriminal will not be able to un-encrypt your files . . . even if they wanted to. While the FBI recommends not paying the ransom as a way to reduce the possibility of future attacks, not every organization can quickly restore from a backup and trigger any disaster recovery strategies. This means that ransomware could effectively shut down your organization for weeks at a time as forensic technicians are slowly able to rebuild your business systems. Even so, there may be information or customer data simply cannot be restored and this can cause a massive drain on productivity and cause a significant impact on customers.

      Top Tips for Staying Safe from Ransomware Attacks

      While many companies purport to be cybersecurity experts, it is critically important that you are working with an IT managed services provider or consultant that has extensive experience in the world of cybersecurity support.

      • Become aggressive at defining business continuity and disaster recovery plans that include local and cloud-based backup strategies.
      • Invest in top cybersecurity software, including anti-malware, antivirus, advanced firewalls, DNS filtering, and more.
      • Provide proactive cybersecurity awareness training to staff, reminding them never to click links or open attachments unless they are from a known entity — and even then, beware!

      Putting strategies in place to protect your organization won’t happen overnight, but adhering to these standards and providing ongoing training to staff will help reduce the risk of ransomware attacks on your business.

      Want to explore your company’s readiness for remote work? Take our quick online assessment to help determine where you need to shift your focus to stay secure while your workers are out of the office. When you’re ready to learn more about ransomware and how you can protect your organization from attack, contact the professionals at Philantech3 at 509-590-4240 or via email to support@ptech3.com to schedule your complimentary initial consultation. As Spokane’s top-rated IT managed services provider, we offer a wide range of IT help desk support, technical consulting and leadership, cybersecurity, and more to support organizations of all sizes.