Here’s How to Protect Your Business from a Ransomware Attack

Cybercrime is rapidly evolving as criminals and hackers develop new ways to steal your private information. Even companies who consider themselves to be tech-savvy and follow extreme security protocols can be at risk. Companies of all sizes, not just large organizations, are at risk for a ransomware attack. Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you aren’t on an attacker’s radar.

What is a ransomware attack?

There are many forms of cyber security threats out there, but malware and 
ransomware attacks are some of the most common forms. Malware is a software that’s designed to impair or disable computer systems so that they do not function properly and people are unable to access their critical documents and important data.

While just 20% of ransomware attacks are on small businesses, over 85% of security service providers report that ransomware is one of the most common threats smaller organizations face. 

The goal of a ransomware attack is to steal your organization’s data, encrypt it, and then extort money to get it back. Victims are only left with a few choices — either regain access to the encrypted network by paying the ransom, restore from backups, or hope a decryption key is available.

Preventing ransomware while working remotely

 It’s well-known that many organizations have adapted their workplace processes and operations to accommodate remote work. Employers have found that implementing a remote work option actually reduces overhead costs and increases employee satisfaction. However, with the sudden surge of employees working remotely, some companies were left vulnerable to malware and ransomware attacks, using unsecured networks and shared space.

Here are some vulnerabilities to keep in mind when employees are working remotely:

  • Home systems, including routers and PCs, may not have updated malware protection, putting information security at risk.

  • Corporate IT staff may not always be readily available to help remote workers with security threats

  • Employees working from home are more likely to visit insecure websites or download unapproved apps than those working in the office

Is your organization vulnerable to a ransomware attack?

Email phishing is the most common scheme ransomware attackers use. If a cyber criminal can get an unsuspecting employee to click a link to a website that hosts or downloads malware, the infection process will start immediately.

A cryptolocker is also part of the ransomware family. Crypto ransomware is designed to encrypt your important data but not to interfere with other computer functions. Crypto hackers typically add a deadline to their ransom where they must pay before a certain date or time. Due to the number of businesses who are unaware of the need for external physical data backups or cloud storage backups, a ransomware incident like this can have devasting financial impacts on a company.

A ransomware attack is usually a matter of opportunity.

Tips for protecting your business from a ransomware attack:

  • Don’t open any emails from a sender you don’t recognize. 
  • Ensure that remote employees are using a secure VPN or secure remote desktop software. 
  • Implement a strong password policy for everyone in your organization. 
  • Avoid sharing personal information on public platforms such as social media sites. 
  • Keep your operating systems updated with the latest patches and anti-virus software.
  • Backup all important company data with physical backup tapes stored offsite at a secure location or back up data on the cloud. 
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