You may have dealt with fraud, malware, Cryptolocker, and more. If you're like many businesses, they have posed significant problems. Ransomware is the latest in targeted attacks, and you need to know how to prepare.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is essentially a type of malware that holds your computer system up for ransom. It can block access to your computer, network, or a single program until a certain amount of money is paid. It will lock your screen and make it difficult for you to get any work done until you make the payment.
You want to make sure that your information isn't being accessed by any of these ransomware threats.
Approximately 205 billion emails are sent every day, and 39% of the attachments contain malicious files. Additionally, 34% of the links embedded inside the emails are malicious. Most of the malware that you could encounter is emailed. Some is delivered in the form of a PDF while others are an EXE.
Cryptolocker is perhaps the most malicious, and is not easy to detect right away.
Your computer will continue operating as normal. Meanwhile, in the background, documents are being encrypted. In some instances, it's happening at a speed of around 1000 files per minute.
Why is Ransomware Such a Problem?
Ransomware has the ability to freeze your files, your SaaS, and much more. It can cause your business to come to a complete standstill, which means you could lose everything. Think about how much you use your computer throughout the day. If you suddenly have a big error on the screen telling you that you have to pay before you access anything, what are you going to do?
You could pay. That's almost the only way of dealing with it once it hits your computer. Depending on how much they are holding your data ransom for, it could be enough to cause you financial ruin. It has impacted a number of businesses around the globe, small and large alike. This means that no one is immune to the effects.
Since it is a problem that you cannot easily overcome, the only thing you can do is prevent ransomware from gaining access to your business and personal information.
There are targeted attacks taking place on very specific industries. This means you will want to familiarize yourself with the latest trends.
Unfortunately, you probably cannot completely avoid an attempted breach. The FBI has said that it's not an if but a when. Since you cannot avoid them, you need to know what you can do about them. The FBI only has about 800 cyber agents, 600 of whom actually conduct investigations. This means they're not going to be able to address all of the attacks. They can triage the most severe, but that leaves everyone else fending for themselves.
In the US, by law, there has to be a minimum of a $5,000 loss before the FBI gets involved. The reality, however, is that the US Attorney's Office wants to see closer to a $50,000 loss or more before there is any kind of legal involvement. The FBI is more interested in getting investigations going if the loss is $200,000 or greater. In Australia, no official guidelines have been made public, but they probably are in the same range.
What this means for your business is that if you are infected with ransomware, you're on your own. Unless you're a large corporation that just encountered a loss of $200,000 or more, law enforcement agencies aren't going to get involved.
What You Can Do About Ransomware
The more updates you perform on your operating system, the better. This will make it easier to protect yourself from new and existing security threats. You should also never open emails from people you don't know – and this includes clicking on links that may be within the emails. Training your staff on this is also critical. Otherwise, you could be doing everything as you should and it will be an employee that invites the ransomware into your server.
There are quite a few ways to prevent data loss as it happens with ransomware and other programs. You have to understand that antivirus software programs aren't going to help you in all situations. However, some prevention tips include:
- Use spam filtering
- Use software that focuses on heuristics and behavior analysis
- Enable software restriction policies
- Backup daily
- Train users to identify risk
When you can implement various methods of prevention, you can minimise the likelihood of being hit with ransomware. Even if you are hit, you may not suffer a significant amount of damage because the malware may be unable to encrypt a lot of your files. Further, if you have everything backed up, you may not need to pay the ransom because you still have access to everything, just on a different server or in the cloud.
Disaster recovery has the ability to save you dramatically. For example, if you use a DaaS or desktop as a service, you will be able to have built in layers of security and protection. This includes intrusion detection, firewalls, as well as 24/7 monitoring. You have to be cautious about all that could affect your system. When you choose a system that is being monitored, and you have a complex IT infrastructure in place, you are going to minimize the ways that ransomware can attack.
You may be working hard and improving productivity and time management. If you're investing in IT solutions, you're already halfway to where you need to be. You simply have to explore IT security solutions that are out there and manage cyber security. Professional consulting may show you what needs to be done so you can avoid hostile takeovers of your data.
What Hackers Often Do To Target Firms
Those who are behind the Cryptolocker virus as well as the other forms of ransomware are looking to make money on those who are unaware and unprepared. They target those who they think will be an easy mark. In many instances, it works. Particularly with law enforcement saying that they won't get involved unless it involves hundreds of thousands of dollars, this leaves room for small time hackers to make a lot of money.
$5,000 here and $5,000 there can add up to a significant amount of money. When the hackers know that they probably won't be caught because there will be no investigation, there is nothing to stand in their way of targeting companies that don't have the necessary protection in place.
They're going to avoid going after companies that make it difficult to perform the hack. They want to avoid any kind of hard work. This means it is absolutely up to you to determine how you are going to make it difficult for them.
Ransomware is a problem for many companies. The good news is that it doesn't have to be a problem for you because you can be sure that you have your data safely tucked away in the cloud, complete with all of the IT protection you need. This way, if a hacker does attack, they won't be ableto take your business down and demand large amounts of money from you.