How To Guard Against a Ransomware Attack

Every company on earth must now beware of a possible ransomware attack that can disrupt and potentially destroy their business. At one time, credit card theft was the biggest online scam, but now it’s ransomware, which involves cyber criminals hijacking and freezing websites until you pay them ransom. Here are key facts to understand about these risks and prevent attacks from ruining your business.

Why Risks are Growing Daily

Ransomware is a growing global concern, as it now affects about 40% of firms in the United States, UK, Canada and Germany, according to Netcaucus.org. Additionally, Kaspersky Lab reports that this extortion is striking one out of every six consumers. The businesses that are most at risk are the ones that don’t bother hiring IT staffs or maintain security solutions. If you insist on cutting corners by sticking with old hardware and software, you are at risk as well.

The reason you should be concerned about ransomware is that cyber criminals continue to get more sophisticated as the problem is becoming an online epidemic. Even though this type of malware has been around for years, it has evolved to the point that samples and kits are being posted to the internet and the dark web, allowing anyone with a criminal mind to easily exploit them. Even kids with limited tech knowledge can now use ransomware variants to launch attacks.

Every electronic device from desktops to smartphones are at risk of an attack. That includes machines at campuses, retail stores, hospitals, banks and even police departments. FBI statistics show that in the first three months of 2016 ransomware attacks amounted to $209 million in damage, which was $24 million more than the losses the entire previous year — from infections.

But this data was only based on reported claims — as many companies are too embarrassed to let outsiders know of breaches — on top of reduced productivity. Even more shocking is that US small businesses lost $75 billion due to downtime from ransomware throughout 2016, according to Datto’s State of the Channel Ransomware Report.

Consequences of Not Protecting Your Data

The trouble often begins when an employee opens what seems to be a harmless email and clicks something that allows malware to enter the system. These emails sometimes spoof familiar brands that you trust.

If you are a victim of a ransomware attack, the intruder will likely create an encryption key for your computer, which will block your access. They will then give you an ultimatum of paying a certain fee by a certain deadline, which is typically within a week or less. If you refuse to pay and do nothing, they may then start to destroy your data. In some cases, even after you pay, the attacker may just disappear without unlocking your computer. Here are some of the worst case scenarios if you are unable to recover your data:

• massive lawsuits from angry customers
• government fines for failing to protect confidential information
• impaired hardware and software that will need replacing
• business disruption that can affect profits
• damaged reputation among customers and your industry
• potential closing of your company

How To Protect Your Data from Ransomware

The most important points to remember about data protection are to constantly copy your data and to have a disaster recovery plan in place. Another protective measure is to back up data on various remote servers. Colocation with a cloud provider is an effective way to ensure you shift to backup copies of your data in the event of a breach.

Furthermore, using security solutions such as Kaspersky software can monitor your traffic so that it will alert you when nefarious entities enter your network. These protections should minimize the effects of a breach or other disasters such as a power outage.

Conclusion

The era of cutting corners on network security is over, as all businesses must guard against a malware or ransomware attack. The best way to protect your data is to make fresh copies on a daily basis and to establish a disaster recovery plan so that business continuity is not at risk. Partner with an experienced IT provider that understands your business and wants to make sure you and your customers are well protected.

JAY HARRILL

Jay is an experienced computer repair in mooresville nc for small to medium sized businesses and he loves to go see live music (mostly hard rock) anytime he can! With over 19 years of technology experience that began with corporate office support that had only terminals with no processing power to the modern office of today that leverages hosted and cloud services, he has seen it all…both on a computer and on stage! As the owner of JH3 Tech Solutions, Jay strives to provide cost effective and proactive computer repair in Hickory nc to all of current and future partners based on their business needs. He keeps stays ahead of all the other IT companies in Charlotte by keeping current with the latest technology trends and assesses their value and applicability for each of his client/partners. He does not use ‘techno-speak’…Jay communicates in plain terms regarding computer repair in mooresville to help his clients/partners understand their technology risks and opportunities.”