Keeping your business networks safe has been a great deal more difficult in recent years with the burst of major ransomware attacks that are business-agnostic — meaning they can hit any size or any type of business at any time. This malicious software is used by cybercriminals to essentially block corporations or individuals from accessing their data or business systems, holding the digital assets “hostage” until a ransom has been paid in Bitcoin or other untraceable digital currency. The statistics around ransomware are staggering, with American businesses losing upwards of $75 billion per year due to ransomware and the recovery process. What’s perhaps more frightening is that this number is suspected to be under-reported, as a quarter of businesses never notify authorities that they have been the victims of a ransomware attack. Here’s what you need to know about ransomware to help protect your business.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware, or malicious software, that takes control of your network or individual computers. Your first indication that you have been attacked might be a notification on your screen letting you know to transfer digital currency or lose all access to your digital assets and information. Or you might suddenly notice that a file you know you saved is not where you placed it, or all of your file and folder names have been replaced with gibberish. If you experience any of these situations, it’s time to call in the professionals to review your current systems and determine what the next steps are in terms of remediation and getting your business back online quickly. Hackers claim that they will provide you with an unlock code once you have paid their ransom, but there are no guarantees that they will follow through on their promise.
No Company Is Safe From the Big Business of Ransomware
No business is too big or too small to be the target of an attack, and ransomware is the great equalizer in terms of cybersecurity. Ransomware is often launched through a phishing attack, when one of your well-meaning staff members clicked a questionable email or inadvertently opened an infected attachment. While small businesses may feel like a “safe space” in terms of cyberattacks, criminals are often using small businesses or contractors as a weak entry point to gain access to larger partners that have rich pools of customer data.
Protecting Your Business From Ransomware
While no technology solution is foolproof, there are some ways that you can limit the possibility of your business falling to an attack. Perhaps the most important is through ongoing education of your staff members because a significant percentage of ransomware attacks are accidentally triggered by an employee. Here are some additional ways to protect your business from ransomware attacks:
- Maintain up-to-date software and OS patches on all machines, including IoT devices such as smart TVs
- Place a higher level of security on machines so individuals are not able to install software without permission
- Get aggressive with your antivirus and anti-malware software
- Invest in web-based content and email filtering
- Ensure that your backup and disaster recovery strategies are up-to-date
Each step that you take reduces the chances that the thousands of ransomware variations floating through the cloud will infest your company.
With a proactive co-managed approach to IT, your team can be confident that your company is fully protected from ransomware and other cyberattacks. Even if malware managed to worm its way past your defenses, the team at UTG has the tools and training needed to get your business back up and running without delay. Contact our cybersecurity experts today at 678-730-0345 or via email to email@example.com to schedule your complimentary initial consultation. From IT strategy and planning to execution, UTG is your partner throughout the technology lifecycle.