Did You Know That 43% Of Businesses Don’t Survive Data Loss?
Ransomware takes control of your data, encrypts it, and holds it hostage for a payment (ransom). Sometimes, having a backup of your data won’t even protect you.
The Gartner Group reports that 43 percent of companies were immediately put out of business by a “major loss” of their computer records, and another 51 percent permanently closed their doors within two years, leaving a mere six percent “survival” rate. Ensure this doesn’t happen to your business.
What Exactly Is Ransomware?
It’s a type of malicious software cybercriminals use to deny access to systems or data. The malicious cyber actor holds systems or data hostage until a ransom is paid. After the initial infection, the ransomware attempts to spread to shared storage drives and other accessible systems. If the demands aren’t met, the system or encrypted data remains unavailable, or data may be deleted.
This crime model is as old as kidnapping. Because you are dealing with criminals, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get files back if you pay the ransom. As a matter of fact, the FBI advises that you don’t pay the ransom.
How Extensive Is Ransomware?
The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) has observed an increase in ransomware attacks around the world. It has quickly become one of the biggest cyber threats to businesses today, especially given the Wanna Cry epidemic that infected hundreds of thousands of IT systems in more than 150 countries.
How Is Ransomware Delivered?
Although there are other methods of delivery, ransomware is frequently delivered through phishing emails and exploits that take advantage of unpatched vulnerabilities in software.
Phishing emails are crafted to appear as though they have been sent from a legitimate organization or known individual. These emails often entice users to click on a link or open an attachment containing malicious code. After the code is run, your computer gets infected with malware.
What Recourse Do You Have?
Prevention is the only defense you have against ransomware or other exploits that result in data loss. A commitment to cyber hygiene and best practices is critical if you want to protect your organization and users from cyber threats like ransomware.
The NCCIC recommends the following precautions to protect users against the threat of ransomware:
- Update software and operating systems with the latest patches. Outdated applications and operating systems are the target of most attacks.
- Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails.
- Back up data on a regular basis. Keep it on a separate device and store it offline.
- Follow safe practices when browsing the Internet. Read Good Security Habits for additional details.
In addition, NCCIC also recommends that you employ the following best practices:
- Restrict users’ permissions to install and run software applications and apply the principle of “least privilege” to all systems and services. Restricting these privileges may prevent malware from running or limit its capability to spread through a network.
- Use application whitelisting to allow only approved programs to run on a network.
- Enable strong spam filters to prevent phishing emails from reaching end users and authenticate inbound email to prevent email spoofing.
- Scan all incoming and outgoing emails to detect threats and filter executable files from reaching end users.
- Configure firewalls to block access to known malicious IP addresses.
What Else Can You Do To Protect Your Business From Ransomware?
Here are 5 additional things you can do right now to protect your business:
1. Make sure you keep your antivirus software up to date.
2. Train your employees to be aware. People remain the biggest source of security breaches. Employees unwittingly open malicious emails or go to corrupted sites and expose their employers’ networks and infrastructures to malicious software.
3. Backups are probably the most important method to restore your systems if you suffer a ransomware attack. Make sure that your backups are detached when the backup is not occurring. Otherwise, you risk that even backup files will be corrupted.
4. Use pop-up blockers. AdwCleaner is one of the best. It not only blocks unwanted pop-ups but also protects against browser hijacks, malware and adware.
5. Use a cloud-based platform like Microsoft Office 365 and back this data up to a secure off-site location. That means that even if one of your staff members unknowingly infects your local network with ransomware, all your data is safe from encryption in the Cloud.
Just as you wouldn’t leave your home unlocked and invite a robbery, you shouldn’t leave your data vulnerable to an attack.
Protect your organization in Houston, San Antonio and Austin from ransomware and other malicious cyberattacks. Contact the cybersecurity experts at ICS. We’ll ensure your data and IT systems are secure.
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