Data is a valuable asset and cybercriminals have caught on to the importance data plays in many small to medium sized businesses. Ransomware is the newest and most prevalent hacking attack generated by cybercriminals. It’s easy for cybercriminals to send ransomware to you and it only takes one click for the ransomware to make it on to your computer and into your business to thieve and lock up all of your data. Protection against ransomware has never been more important.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is any type of malicious software that attacks your computer’s hard drive and locks your files. The attacker encrypts your files so that you cannot access your files. Then, typically, the files are either scheduled to be deleted permanently or to be posted around the Internet (where others can access your valuable data).
The only way to stop the madness and save your files? Pay the cyber attackers. Most of the time this payment is requested in a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. This makes it impossible for police to trace the payment to the attacker.
How Does Ransomware End Up on Your Business Computer?
How do they get in to your system in order to launch an attack? Ransomware is malicious software that must be downloaded to your system. One of the most popular ways to get the software downloaded on to a unsuspecting victim’s business computer is to send phishing emails. Cybercriminals are savvy and they know that if they continue to send phishing emails, it is likely that an employee will click on the link in the email and unknowingly download the ransomware. It only takes one click on a phishing email to infect a computer with ransomware.
Stop Ransomware Attacks
The most popular victims are businesses who use data to operate, run, and earn revenue. If your business relies on data, you are a prime target for a cyber criminal using ransomware. The goal of the cybercriminal is to find someone who relies on data so much that they are willing to quickly pay off the criminal to get the encryption key needed to unlock their files.
To stop ransomware attacks, you need to act quickly and follow three simple protocols:
1) Educate your employees
Education is vital when it comes to your employees because they are often the best way for an attacker to get malware on to your system. Your employees need to know what to expect when it comes to phishing scams and malware attacks. Educate your employees so that they know what to be aware of and the importance of keeping Internet security in mind as they work.
2) Install Anti-Virus Software
Anti-Virus software is not enough to stop every single attack, but anti-virus software will stop attacks regularly. This software routinely works to sabotage any malicious software downloaded to your machine and keep your data safe from attackers. This software is not strong enough to act as your only defense against ransomware, but it is should absolutely be an important aspect of your defense.
3) Strong Data Protection System
At the end of the day, your data protection system exists to back up your files in case something happens and you lose your files. In the event of a ransomware data breach, your data protection system can be a safe and efficient way to get your files back without giving into the cybercriminal’s demands. Why pay off the cybercriminal for your files when you have stored copies? Data protection systems continually capture your files and data on a daily or monthly basis so that you have always have a back-up you can count on. This keeps your business from costly downtime and costly ransom payments if a ransomware attack does happen.
Dealing with the aftermath of a ransomware attack can be stressful, frustrating, nerve-wracking, and even business ending. To recover from a ransomware attack, the best thing that you can do is recover your files from your data protection system and backup service. If you did not backup your files, you are in trouble.
The other option of course it to pay off the cybercriminals and hope that they do return the data as promised (they don’t always follow through with their promise). If you have had to deal with a ransomware attack, recovery should include developing a data protection plan that can save you in the next attack. Figuring out how to move on with lost data unfortunately will be up to you.
Avoid ransomware attacks by educating your employees, installing antivirus software, and ensuring that you have a strong data protection system in place. At K3 Business Technology, we would love to help you in all three of these areas. We have the knowledge, capability, expertise, and tools required to secure your business with complete ransomware protection – give us a call at 303-770-8050!