The Rise of Ransomware: How to Protect Your Business from Cyber Extortion

Ransomware attacks are very dangerous for businesses – they can shut down vital infrastructure, and they can even affect entire countries. This can cripple small businesses, since they could wipe out their money when they have to pay the hackers.

As a business owner, large or small, you want to use secure solutions services to keep your data safe from these kinds of attacks.. There are other things that you can do to protect yourself from ransomware, too.

Know What’s On All of Your Networks

You need to create a plan, and in order to do that, you need to know what is connected to your network, including software, hardware, and any cloud programs. This was a lot easier when all of the people working at your business were in the same building. Now, a lot of people work remotely. This can create a lot more openings for ransomware hackers, since people use more than one device. All it takes is for one person to open an innocent-looking email.

It’s critical that you fully know your network – the hackers are counting on you not doing that due diligence. In fact, they may have a more complete picture of it than you if you’re not careful.

Always Keep Everything Up To Date

This is also an area where businesses fail to protect themselves. They need to make sure that everyone installs every single security patch and operating system update. If one person puts it off, it can create a vulnerability that hackers will be more than happy to exploit.

It’s important to stress this to the people working for your company. You also have to allow for these things to happen. Tell the employees to back up their work and let the patches and system updates go through. 15 minutes of downtime shouldn’t hurt anyone’s workflow. Don’t penalize anyone for not working during that time, either.

Back Up Everything

Think of this as a large-scale version of making sure that you backup your work in school so that you won’t have to turn in a paper late due to a corrupt file. It’s a good idea to be prepared for the worst.

You can back up your files to a cloud system on a regular basis – usually every day. This way, if you do have a ransomware attack, you can use those back-up files so that your day-to-day operations can continue smoothly. While you do that, you can then look to see what kind of weaknesses that the hackers exploited to get the ransomware in place.

Make Sure to Educate Your Team

There’s one really popular way for ransomware hackers to get their files into your network. They send emails purporting to be from a legitimate person or company. Once the recipient opens the file, it will send its malicious code onto your network and wreak havoc. This is known as phishing.

Tell your employees to not open emails that look suspicious or to reveal personal information on the phone or to use unknown USB devices. While some may think that this is being paranoid, it’s important to have the people who are working for you question everything that they get. They should go as far as to contact the person they received the alleged file from to make sure that it is legitimate. By doing this, you will be greatly lessening the chance of it happening.

Protect Your Network

You can get security software, like anti-mal software that can detect ransomware before it takes root in your system. Also, you can have your employees use two-factor authentication to sign in certain things. Two-factor means you can have their cell phones get a code that they then have to type in before they can fully log on.

If you do find yourself the victim of a ransomware attack, despite your best efforts doing the above, it’s recommended that you not pay the hackers the money that they want. The reasoning behind this is that there’s no guarantee that they won’t take the money and just still leave you with a non-functional system. Also, they could leave exploits that would let them take control of the system again and have you pay again so that the information stays private.

It’s always a never-ending battle between the people in cybersecurity and the hackers. Hopefully, you will be unaffected, but it’s better to be prepared and not have to worry about any incidents. Be smart and you will be able to be the victim of ransomware.