Surveys have shown that 71% of all ransomware attacks are aimed at small to medium businesses (SMBs) and that in each event, businesses lose an average of about $2500. Because of this big payday, cyber criminals show no signs of slowing down, so it is up to you to protect yourself. Below, you can learn more about ransomware, how to prevent it, and what you should do if you are a victim.
Ransomware is a form of malware, much like a computer virus, that makes its way into your systems and essentially holds your data hostage until you pay the criminal a sum of money they determine. The most common entry point for ransomware is infected email. According to Betternet, 60% of all the ransomware attacks in 2017 were delivered in this manner, and others were delivered via online ads or through unsecured websites. For a small business, ransomware can be devastating, so most business owners simply pay the ransom instead of working to rid their systems of the malware, and this drives the criminals to continue finding new ways to infect other companies.
Because so many ransomware attacks originate in email attachments and links, the absolute best way for you to keep your business safe is to educate yourself and your employees on basic email safety. For example, you should always check the sender’s address and make sure you recognize it before you click a link or open an attachment. If you receive an email from a bank or other service provider that addresses you as “Customer” or your by your email address rather than your first and last name, do not click any link or download any attachment.
Other things you can do involve utilizing security software and a strong antivirus program, keeping both of these up to date, keeping redundant backups of all your data, and using cloud-based services wherever possible since you can simply bypass ransomware and roll back your data to a different point in time.
If you find yourself the victim of a ransomware attack, the first thing you should keep in mind is that you should never pay the ransom. Not only does this only encourage criminals to continue attacking small businesses, but there is never any guarantee that you will regain access to your data even after you pay. It isn’t uncommon for cybercriminals to demand multiple payments in succession from business owners who appear desperate to gain access to their data. The best course of action is to contact a professional right away. They can not only help you restore your data to get past the ransomware, but they can also do a network security check and offer solutions for common issues to prevent future attacks.
Ransomware is still a serious problem in today’s day and age despite advanced technology and incredibly secure antivirus programs. For the most part, though, avoiding ransomware is about being diligent and making certain that you always use best practices for email, web browsing, and more.