One of the most malicious types of malware was engineered as a digital form of kidnapping. Ransomware, named for the ransom that’s demanded, has the specific purpose of making all your data unusable until you pay up.
Ransomware attacks are one of the top 5 cybersecurity threats overall and the second largest in the retail industry. This type of cyberattack is continuing to grow every year as all types of hackers (both big and small) see ransomware as an easy way to make a buck.
Technical Evolutions helps to protect our clients in the Chicagoland area from ransomware and other IT security threats with a two-pronged approach that includes both strong data security to keep threats out and a good backup and disaster recovery plan.
One thing we find is that many businesses aren’t quite sure what ransomware is and how it works. It’s a major threat to your company’s data security that you need to know about, so read on for the facts about ransomware and how to avoid becoming one of its victims.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a classification of malware. Malware includes all types of dangerous scripts meant to infect your computer, including viruses, trojans, and spyware. The ransomware variety has a specific purpose, to encrypt your data or otherwise render it unusable by you, until you pay the requested ransom to the hacker.
An average ransomware ransom request is between $200 to $3,000.
A ransomware attack generally follows a scenario such as this:
- Ransomware infects your system either through a click on a phishing email or a hack into your system in another way
- The malicious code renders your files unusable, either by encrypting them so they’re not readable (crypto ransomware), erasing them, or blocking your access to your system (locker ransomware).
- You’ll receive a request to pay a ransom to the hacker in order to regain access to your data and/or system. It will usually be in an anonymous payment form, like bitcoin or digital gift cards.
- You may or may not actually regain access to your data after paying the ransom.
Ransomware isn’t going anywhere because of the success hackers have with companies that are unprepared and pay the ransom because they don’t see any other way of getting their data back.
But there are steps you can take to protect your company and be prepared for any type of ransomware attack in the future.
Steps for Protecting Your Business from a Ransomware Attack
As we mentioned, Technical Evolutions fights ransomware on two fronts, both prevention and data recovery. The steps below incorporate both those strategies and will help you both avoid an attack and minimize any damage in the event of a ransomware infection.
Use a Reliable Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware Program
If you’re only using a free anti-virus program to protect your company’s computers and mobile devices, that’s not going to be enough to stop today’s advanced ransomware and malware threats.
You want to look for a robust security application that includes the following protections:
Keep Everything Patched and Updated
It seems like everything needs an update these days – operating systems for desktop and mobile devices, software applications, firmware, and mobile apps. But while they may be inconvenient, those updates are vital to healthy network security because they contain important security patches for discovered vulnerabilities.
A “no-hassle” way to ensure all your patches and updates are being installed on everyone’s devices is to sign up for a managed IT security plan, and we take care of it for you.
Ensure You Have a Backup & Recovery Plan
Having an easily recovered backup of all your data is like a silver bullet to ransomware attacks. There’s no need to pay anyone a ransom if you have another copy of everything stored safely.
It’s a good idea to keep more than one backup off all your system data, including that which might reside on mobile devices. You also want to use a backup system that is built for data recovery, meaning data is backed up in such a way that you can easily restore it for use when you need it.
Train Employees Regularly on Cybersecurity
The human factor is the reason phishing emails are still the number one cause of data breaches, including ransomware attacks. Strengthen the human component of your IT security strategy by conducting regular training on cyber threats, how to spot phishing emails and social phishing scams, and what to do if you accidentally click a malicious link.
Just like anything else, ongoing training is key to keeping best practices fresh in their minds and help employees avoid letting in a ransomware script (or other malicious infection) unknowingly.
Stay Protected from Ransomware & More with TE Security
Technical Evolutions can ensure your cybersecurity is rock solid with our TE Security program. We’ll take care of all patches and updates, monitor your networks continually for threats, and can even conduct employee security training.
Do you have 10 minutes? Give us a call today to learn more about TE Security and protect your business from multiple online threats, 708-540-6201.