A ransomware attack is one in which a business’s sensitive information is obtained by a cybercriminal and then held for ransom. In other words, the criminal requests a certain amount of money to release the data back to the owner; if that money is not paid, they will send the data to other criminals or release it to the wider public or, in the case of important files, destroy them entirely.
This is a scary enough thought, but the fact that around a third of businesses chose to pay the ransom, and one in five who paid never did receive their data back, is even more worrying.
If you’re concerned about what might happen if you were to be the subject of a ransomware attack, read on for some advice about how to protect your business.
Put Security Software in Place
Whether you run a business or store files for your own personal needs, it’s crucial you put security software in place. This is your first line of defense against cybercriminals and is a must if you want to keep your data safe.
However, this software won’t be one hundred percent reliable, and other measures are needed. It will be even less reliable if you don’t update it when patches are available. The longer you leave it between updates, the more chance there is of a cybercriminal gaining access.
To ensure you have the right security measures in place and that they are always up to date, it would pay to have a professional company on board for managed IT services. In this way, not only can you be sure that your systems are safe, but you’ll also experience much less downtime if something were to go wrong.
Watch Out for Suspicious Emails
Emails are the number one way that cybercriminals can launch a ransomware attack. They will send an email, often purporting to be from some reliable source such as your bank or a government agency, and within that email will be a link that unsuspecting business owners and their staff will click. At this point, depending on the virus being sent, your systems may already have been compromised. Alternatively, you might be asked to input bank details or other important information. After that, the criminal can put their ransom plan in place.
It’s important to watch out for suspicious emails and to inform your staff about them. These emails may look like the real thing at first, but they will often have telltale signs that they are not right, including:
- Spelling and grammar mistakes
- Links that don’t go where they should (hover your mouse over the link, and you’ll see the destination)
- Poor design
- Unusual URLs
- Talking about an account with a bank or organization you have no account with
Also, be careful of any email with an attachment. These can be viruses, and if you don’t know the sender, it’s best to ignore the email.
Backup Your Data
Even when you update your software as soon as possible and you are careful about emails, there is a chance that a cybercriminal can still get into your system and wreak havoc. This is why it’s important to back up your data; if there were an attack and your data was encrypted so you couldn’t read it, having a backup, ideally within the cloud, would mean you wouldn’t even have to consider paying the ransom. You would simply need to download the information and get back to work.
Storing your business information in the cloud should be a matter of course. It means it’s secure, but it also means that you can access it from anywhere at any time.