Ransomware on the Rise: Follow These Steps to Protect Your Business From This Toxic Malware
Imagine a thief invading your business, locking your business accounts in a safe, and then demanding a ransom in exchange for the key. This essentially is what ransomware does. Read on to learn how to protect your business.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to get into a host’s system and then lock and encrypt the data within. To access that data again, the host must pay a dictated amount, a ransom, to whatever cybercriminal or criminal organization sent the ransomware. Failure to pay this ransom may result in losing access to the data forever and yet even paying the ransom isn’t a guarantee that the cybercriminals will restore access (they are criminals after all).
Protecting Your Business From Ransomware
Few types of malicious attacks can be as frustrating as ransomware as your business’s critical documents, files, financial information, and other data is technically still there on your computer or other devices, it’s just inaccessible and unreadable by the device. Furthermore, once ransomware has invaded your device, it can be impossible to remedy and thus it’s critical for businesses to enact measures to prevent such an attack instead of waiting to react to such an attack.
Steps to Prevent Your Business From Falling Prey to Ransomware
- Have a reliable business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place. The most important thing here is to have a back-up of all vital business information made at the end of every business day both on site and in the cloud. Doing so means that should any device fall prey to a ransomware attack, you will still have access to vital data elsewhere and will not feel a need to succumb to criminal ransom threats.
- Invest in the best cybersecurity defenses. Investing in the best antivirus and malware software and recruiting knowledgeable IT employees is another key defense to prevent cybercriminals from ever getting access to your valuable business data. Even small businesses of five employees and under should consider having at least one IT personnel on payroll or on call to regularly inspect cybersecurity software and advise on cybersecurity protocols. Small businesses are most at risk as 43% of cyberattacks in 2018 were aimed at small businesses — and it’s not hard to reason why. Small businesses think they’re too small to gain notice, and yet they are precisely the type of target criminals love as that thought process leaves them open for an easy attack. Of cyberattacks against small businesses, only 14% reported their ability to defend themselves.
- Enact a business-wide policy of never clicking or opening any attachment or link without verifying the authenticity of the sender. The most common way a computer or business device gets infected by malware is through a phishing email. Phishing emails are emails that often pretend to be emails sent by a known account, such as your utility company, and request for the recipient to click an attachment or link to act upon an immediate announcement (such as your company missed your last bill, click here to pay). Clicking the link will then send the user to an infected website in which drive-by-downloading occurs and the ransomware is downloaded and infects the device without the user’s knowledge. Clicking an attachment embedded within the malevolent email itself can also have the same impact.
Get Started on Your Cyber Defense Today
Remember, no business or professional is immune to cyberthieves and just one such cyberattack can cripple a small business. In 2019, 205,280 organizations reported being hacked by a ransomware attack and the average demanded payment to release encrypted files was $84,116. That’s a hefty sum that even healthy mid-sized businesses would have a problem putting together for a thief. So start improving your cyber defense today and subscribe to our blog, check out our YouTube video on the subject, and stay tuned for future tech tips and advice.
I am an IT professional with a broad depth of knowledge and experience as an IT planning consultant, with previous experience as a network engineer. I have 14+ years in the industry providing sustainable technology solutions for small to medium-sized businesses. I personally thrive on making systems more efficient and I am continually interested in ways to innovate using technology applications. I enjoy working closely with colleagues and clients to collaborate and provide a best fit solution for all IT-related needs. More recently I have assisted my workplace with an implementation of the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) in the “Integrator” role, where I have assisted with optimizing company operations and improving cross-departmental functional systems.