Ransomware is perhaps one of the most difficult types of malware to handle, and it has enabled cyber-extortion to flourish over the past several years. As a business owner, you need to know what ransomware is, how it should be addressed, and how to protect against it.
What Exactly is Ransomware?
Ransomware locks down part of a computer or network, only unlocking it when a ransom is paid in the form of cryptocurrency. Businesses that rely on computing infrastructures—basically all of them—can be crippled by such a threat, which is why it can be so devastating.
Why Ransomware Should Alarm the Small Business
It should come as no surprise that most of these threats are leveraged against large companies and enterprises with deep pockets that can afford the ransom. Small businesses, on the other hand, can also be completely shut down by ransomware. There are certain costs associated with an attack like this, including the following:
- Downtime from having mission-critical systems locked by the ransomware
- The cost of the ransom if you choose to pay it
- The reputational damage that comes with losing control of customer data
Furthermore, since most businesses utilize cloud computing, accept online payments, and have a web presence, there are so many opportunities for hackers to cause trouble with their cyberthreats. If you are a small business owner, you need to take all of these into consideration, as even the smallest issue could become a significant problem moving forward.
Some people believe that they are immune to ransomware, but this is simply not true. It does not matter how big or small your company is; you could become the target if you aren’t careful or if you aren’t taking the appropriate precautions. Here are three steps you can take to make sure that you are as best protected as possible.
Train Your Users to Detect Phishing Messages
Phishing attacks are the easiest and most common way hackers use to spread ransomware. To help you avoid phishing attacks, consider the following giveaway signs:
- Phishing messages typically ask for sensitive information
- Phishing messages utilize different domains from legitimate sources
- Phishing messages contain unsolicited attachments and links
- Phishing messages tend to have poor grammar and don’t typically have the elements of personalization that you would expect.
- Phishing messages try to elicit panic resulting in impulsive action
If a message contains any of the above, you should at least give the message a second glance to ensure that it’s legitimate.
Keep Your Software Patched
Ransomware often exploits vulnerabilities and weaknesses in your firmware, antivirus software, operating systems, and other applications, which means that they must be patched periodically to ensure that they aren’t outdated or vulnerable. Your software needs to take into account the latest threat definitions to be effective. If you need help with this process, we are happy to assist, and we can even automate the process so it’s one less thing for you to worry about.
Back Up Your Data
The most important practice for protecting your data from ransomware is to implement a backup solution. It could quite literally save your business in the event you are struck by an attack. While some types of ransomware use a double-extortion method where they threaten to release data online if you fail to pay the ransom, other types of ransomware can be bypassed through the smart implementation of a backup. We recommend you keep a backup off-site so there is minimal chance it can be infected or corrupted by ransomware.
Nexela can help you secure your endpoints and take the fight against ransomware. To learn more, reach out to us at (215) 525-3223.