How To Protect Your Business from Ransomware

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Ransomware remains the most common cyber threat according to a recent global survey of more than 1,400 MSP decision makers that manage IT systems for small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

We’ve put together some helpful information so you can better understand this cybercrime and how you can protect your business from ransomware attacks.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is type of malware that threatens to publish or destroy a victim’s data, or perpetually block access to it until a specified ransom is paid.

Almost always, ransomware relies on a victim clicking on a malicious link or attachment sent via email. It is also possible for cybercriminals to manipulate security holes and inject malware into a network without human interaction, but this is rare.

How Ransomware Works

Simple ransomware may lock a system in a way in which a technically knowledgeable person can reverse, however, more advanced malware uses a technique called ‘cryptoviral extortion’, in which it encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.

Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan that is disguised as a legitimate file that the user is tricked into downloading or opening when it arrives as an email attachment.

Growth of Ransomware

Ransomware scams have grown exponentially in recently years, with over 181 million ransomware attacks worldwide in the first 6 months of 2018.

Unlike traditional data breaches that result in stolen information, ransomware is used to ‘lock’ crucial systems, which means most organisations will pay the ransom to have their system/s restored.

Earlier this year, Gillian Franklin, the founder of Australian cosmetics business The Heat Group, logged on to her business to discover all online documents and files were missing and were replaced by a ransom note demanding payment of the equivalent of $40,000 in Bitcoin.

Within one week the Heat Group was back online but Ms Franklin estimates the cyber attack cost the business $2 million.

In October 2019, a ransomware attack on the Victorian Government by ‘sophisticated cyber criminals’ forced some of the state’s major regional hospitals to go offline.

How to Avoid Ransomware Attacks

  1. Be Aware and Alert

Educate your employees so they are aware of what a phishing attack may look like. Obvious signs are poor grammar, incorrect spelling, and threatening language such as an account suspension message. More sophisticated attacks use techniques such as sending an unpaid invoice, which an unsuspecting person may be more likely to open.

  1. Update Systems

Although ransomware rarely spreads as a result of system vulnerabilities, outdated systems are always vulnerable to attack. Back up your data, implement 2-step authentication, conduct security patches, and auto-enable updates on all devices.

  1. Implement Offline Backups

Consider storing a backup offline that can’t be impacted by a ransomware attack.

  1. Seek Expert Advice

Alarmingly, according to the research firm Security InDepth, Australian Businesses are completely unprepared for cyber hacks.

Another survey report found that one in four Australian businesses do not have an incident response plan to deal with cyber attacks when they happen.

Contact Surety IT today to discuss the development of your business cyber security strategy.  We’ll work with you to understand what information you have, where it is and who has access to it, and help you plan a cyber security strategy that is easy to understand, scalable, flexible and educational.

Read More:

Tips to Prevent Data Breaches in Your Business

Companies You Should Not Deal with To Avoid Being Scammed


About the author:

Geoff Stewart

Geoff Stewart

Geoff Stewart is a highly experienced and skilled IT Challenger at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience having created customised, stable, well performing systems both for multi-national companies in the UK and Australia and Surety IT customers.

Surety IT’s mission is to address and overcome the 4 biggest problems businesses have with their IT systems and support which are: poorly performing systems, unreliable systems, unresponsive IT support and poor IT related advice.

We’ve developed a proprietary process that allows us to do that by: thoroughly understanding your business requirements, gaining an in-depth knowledge of your IT systems, identifying mission critical technology issues vital to your business performance and ensuring our ‘Solution Path’ process is specifically designed and tailored for you with value based solutions and support.

Give us a call or send us a message on our contact page to find out more about how we go about achieving these outcomes.

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