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Countless high-profile ransomware attacks have surfaced over the past several years, all against targets like manufacturers, pipelines, hospitals, and utility companies. Obviously, these attacks are a cause for concern, but some small businesses might make the mistake of thinking themselves too small to target. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case; we’ll help you protect your business from these devastating cyberattacks.
Today’s blog will help you implement measures to keep your business safe from the threat of ransomware. You will gain the foundational knowledge to help you understand this threat, how it spreads, and what you can do to stop it.
Ransomware is a malware that encrypts the files on a computer or device, locking them down so they are essentially useless for the user. Hackers demand a payment in exchange for the safe return of the files. Recent ransomware attacks have demanded massive payments that are impossible to budget for, and these payments are requested in the form of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Once payment is received, hackers claim that they will hand over the decryption key, giving organizations the ability to decrypt their data.
Businesses should not rely on the goodwill of hackers to get their data back following a ransomware attack, though. It is recommended that you do not pay the ransom for a couple of reasons. For one, who can guarantee that the hacker will return your data to you? What’s stopping them from just taking your money and your dignity along with it? The other issue is that paying up in the face of a ransomware attack is funding further attacks, and it also shows the world that ransomware works, fueling even more attacks in the future.
While we never recommend paying the ransom, it might seem like the only viable choice to get back in action following such an incident. This is especially true in more recent ransomware cases where hackers are also threatening to release encrypted data if the victim refuses to pay the ransom. This puts businesses in a difficult situation; do they risk the security of their data as well as the fines that come from the failure to properly protect it, or do they pay the ransom? It’s a lose-lose situation and one that is entirely preventable with enough precautions.
Ransomware spreads from system to system in much the same way that normal malware does: through downloading infected files or attachments, clicking on the wrong link while going about your business, or through phishing or social engineering attacks designed to trick users. Hackers can also leverage weaknesses in your network security to install ransomware on devices. Ransomware is certainly a bit different from your typical malware, but at the end of the day, the same tactics used against other threats should work against ransomware. Proactive maintenance, data backups and disaster recovery, security solutions, and proper training for your users can all compound and work to protect your network security from threats of all kinds.
It’s not possible to guarantee that your organization will never suffer from a network security disaster, but if you take the appropriate actions now, you will find that the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have done all you can to protect your business might be enough. Decatur Computers Inc. can help your organization secure its network and protect its assets. To learn more, reach out to us at 217-475-0226.