How To Protect Your Business From Ransomware
On May 7th, the Baltimore City government was hit with a costly form of ransomware attack. The target was nearly every government department and the local real estate market. The city refused to pay the ransom of about $80,000 but the recovery cost was estimated to be more than $18 million.
According to Emisoft, at least 948 government agencies, educational establishments, and healthcare providers were impacted by ransomware infections this past year. Business Insider reports that Ransomware has generated $25 million in revenue for hackers.
Ransomware is one of many types of malware (malicious software) cyberattacks that has engulfed the globe. Since “going pro” in 2013 (bplans), ransomware has grown at an exponential rate, with 2019 has been reported as the worst year to date for ransomware. Many analysts believe that this trend will continue into 2020.
With Ransomware, hackers have traditionally held your data hostage with an encryption, but now they’ve begun to up the ante and start leaking personal and confidential data as a means for victims to pay. The best way to prepare your computer systems for a potential ransomware attack is to know what it is, and the damage it can cause.
How to prevent Ransomware from killing your business
Ransomware is continually evolving with Hackers developing new tricks to gain more money from your company. Ransomware enters your system or network like any other malware – through email attachments, webpages that embedded with ransomware, and through holes and flaws in your security system. Once in, the malware begins encrypting files, giving the assailant full control until the ransom is paid.
While the trend of ransomware attacks is leaning towards multi-million-dollar companies, every business regardless of the size needs to be prepared for a potential attack. A larger company has a higher chance of bouncing back from a ransomware attack than a small business. Attacks and the recovery process can force an ill-prepared business to go under.
Educate and manage employees
The first line of defense is knowledge. Employees should be educated on the warning signs, safe practices, and the correct responses in case of an event. Include this into employee onboarding and refresh education yearly. Hacking is a constantly evolving force against your business, to stay ahead you need to be aware of its changes.
Take the time to restrict certain user’s access to your network. Prohibit the installation of new software that hasn’t been properly vetted and approved. Employees do not need full access to everything on your network.
Keep your software up to date
Keep track of new versions and installations of all the programs you use to make sure a vulnerability is not exploited. Repeat any bugs or glitches to the software developers to warn them of any potential exploits. It may seem tedious to update your computers every time a new patch has been released, but in doing so you take away another way for ransomware to grab hold of your company. Use these same tactics at home with your personal data and network to avoid personal money and data loss.
This is paramount with your anti-malware and antivirus software. Many applications have an automatic update option that should be utilized.
Backup your entire network
The final bit of defense against paying the ransom is to backing up your network and insuring your business. Finding out you’ve been hit by a ransomware attack can instill you with panic, but at least you backed up all your data in a secure location. Depending on the size of your company, you may be able to use cloud-based back up systems with secure websites. With proper IT support and local data centers, your business will only pay for the lost production time.
When in doubt, always have a disaster recovery plan. A disaster relief plan is there for any event – from hurricanes and fires to data breaches and ransomware attacks. Having a disaster recovery plan ensures business continuity.
If you’re unprepared for the worst, give DataGroup Technologies a call. DataGroup Technologies will be your defenders from ransomware and other cyber-attacks. Our technical support and custom cybersecurity solutions will allow you to focus on growing your business and not constantly worrying about encrypting ransomware.