Ransomware, The Real Threat Against Your Business!
Ransomware is a real threat to organizations of all sizes. According to a study made by the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, in 2021 ransomware attacks increased by 62% compared to the previous year. Every 40 seconds ransomware is infecting a company’s network. As you are reading this, your company may be the next target of a criminal organization! Are you protected against Ransomware attacks?
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is malicious software that “kidnaps” your information by encrypting it and making it unavailable for your organization. It can spread as easily as a wildfire and infect your network environment in a matter of seconds! The only way you can recover your encrypted data is through ransom payment to the attackers. Once you pay the hackers the amount of their choosing, they will release your information by delivering you a decryption key, if you’re lucky.
How the Ransom is Paid
The terms of the ransomware payment are always defined by the hacker. The payment method is a type of cryptocurrency like Bitcoin because these currencies allow them to maintain anonymity. To be able to pay the ransom, there are several steps you must follow,
1. Create a digital wallet:
To acquire digital currencies, you must create a digital wallet. Then you may exchange your money for the number of cryptocurrencies requested by the cybercriminal.
2. Make a risky transaction:
When you are dealing with digital currencies there are no banks involved and the value of the currency you acquire is subject to unpredictable digital markets.
3. Hope for the best:
Ransom fees typically cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some of the worst cases can cost millions of dollars depending on the attacker. Remember, paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee you are getting your information back. When you deal with a ransomware attack you are making a transaction with criminals.
The FBI advises not to pay ransom for the following reasons:
You may pay for the decryption key and never get it.
The decryption key provided by attackers to release your business from ransomware may not work.
Once criminals are aware that you are willing to pay for ransom your business may be retargeted by them or other cybercriminals.
Ransomware will cost you more than money
Besides losing money for paying a ransom, ransomware brings your business other operational downsides that can end business operations. Ransomware attacks lead to total or partial data loss and, most importantly, affect the reputation of your current and future business functions. This can leave you exposed to legal action lawsuits due to sensitive information leaks!
How can I prevent ransomware?
Train your staff regularly!
Most ransomware attacks access businesses’ networks through phishing scams. Hackers try to fool employees by sending very real-looking emails and asking them to click a link to execute a certain action, claim prices, change passwords, and more. Once the user clicks the link or opens the attachment, he unknowingly downloads malicious code that infects the whole network!
Training your staff regularly will prepare them to identify and deal with cyber threats as well educating them on how to use their devices in a secure fashion. Hiring managed IT experts that can protect your company from attacks as well as give your employees the right training that they need to prevent cyber-attacks.
Vulnerability and Patch Management
If your computer is not updated with the latest patches or software, you are more vulnerable to ransomware and other malware infection. Vulnerability Scanning and System Patching must occur on a regular basis to ensure that your organization is secure. Most patches are weekly if not immediately when a vulnerability is detected. That’s why it’s important to keep up with new updates. We advise you to implement a formal vulnerability and patch management program to keep your business safe.
Having Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware software will help you remain protected against threats. Not all ransomware will be detected by your anti-virus system but it will detect a vast majority of them and eliminate them before it affects your network.
Email & Web Content Filtering
Having email & web Filtering software will make protecting your business much easier. This software will help you identify and eliminate ransomware attacks before you open them. Don’t forget to have all your network devices patched and updated to prevent hackers from accessing your network.
Secure Remote Access Technologies
Secure remote access technologies such as VPNs should always be used to ensure that you are securely accessing your network. This is especially important when your team has remote workers that are allowed access to remote locations and public networks.
Recovery - Have an incident response plan!
Having properly implemented incident response plans against ransomware and other threats will offer you structure, agility, and reassurance in times of crisis. In turn this allows you to mitigate problems faster, diminish damage, and speed up the recovery of your business to get back on track in a timely fashion.
A ransomware attack can infect your complete network faster than you think! Segregating your network will allow you to contain the damage caused by the infection and will help you get your business back on the right path.
Having data backups allows you to recover from ransomware attacks through restoration of your systems, applications, and files to the previously non-infected version. That is why it’s important to do data backups regularly. A good practice is to perform multiple data backups in different locations.
Disaster Recovery Plan
To properly deal with ransomware and other malware infections effectively, it’s necessary to have a step-by-step recovery plan. Be sure to have a reliable and updated backup system that documents your data backups to keep them safe.
At BTI we have more than 35 years of experience in IT, security, and communications! Do you want us to support your business? Contact Us or send us an email to schedule a free assessment so we can help you get the right solution for your business!