Without ransomware protection, you and your business are at risk for an attack by cyberextortionists once they get into your system.
Will your business be the next victim of ransomware? If your computer and your network is not properly protected, then the answer is yes. The magnitude of ransomware attacks has exploded over the last few months. Cybercriminals are working 24/7 to find new businesses of all shapes and sizes to extort. Without ransomware protection, you are one click away from costly repairs and lost data. Taking the necessary steps of partnering with a cybersecurity company in Little Rock can help you prevent ransomware attacks and avoid potentially significant financial losses.
What Are Ransomware Attacks?
Malicious ransomware software programs can take control of your computer and either encrypt data or block access to files. When you try to use a compromised system, a ransom note will usually appear demanding immediate payment for the decryption codes or keys needed to regain control. The two most common types of ransomware right now are crypto and locker programs. Crypto programs encrypt your data and files, making them impossible to open without the correct decryption. Locker programs lock your computer, preventing you from using it at all. Sometimes, these locker programs will add pornographic or threatening images that pop up every time you click.
What Do Ransomware Attackers Want?
The goal of ransomware attacks is simple: to extort money from victims. Ransom notes provide instructions on how to forward payment, usually in the form of untraceable payment vouchers or Bitcoins. Psychological pressure often accompanies these ransom notes, such as threatening to delete files every hour until payment is received or displaying an ominous countdown clock. Ransom amounts vary with an average of $300 for individuals and $10,000 for small businesses. In June 2015, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that it had investigated nearly 1,000 crypto-related crimes over the previous 14 months, with victims paying a total of $18 million.
Why You Are at Risk Right Now
The most common ways that ransomware attacks gain access to computer systems is through opened email attachments, clicked popup boxes, or by visiting suspicious websites. Most recently, ransomware attackers have targeted small and medium businesses with email attachments that are disguised as financial documents, such as customer invoices. In 2016, McAfee and Symantec both reported that they had blocked 4 to 5 million emails with ransomware attachments.
The most popular file extensions used in attempts to fool victims are Microsoft Office, Adobe PDF, and graphic files (like .jpegs and .pngs). It takes just one click from an unsuspecting employee to unleash a malicious program into your network. Once this happens, there is nothing you can do if your system is not properly protected or if backup files are not updated.
How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” To save your company from paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars to these ruthless cybercriminals, you need to prepare for an attack now before you become the next victim. Here are some steps that can help protect you from problems with ransomware:
- Files need to be backed up regularly and stored on removable hard drives or cloud servers.
- Security software and patches must be kept up-to-date to protect against the latest malware.
- Your operating systems and software programs must stay updated with the newest versions.
- Always delete suspicious emails without opening them, especially if they contain attachments or require you to enable macros to view contents.
Scale Fights These Criminals for You
You should be focusing on your employees, clients, and customers, not worrying about cyber threats that could cripple your business. For more information about ransomware protection, contact Scale today at 501-588-3199 and let us worry about these security threats for you. We follow all industry data protection and cloud backup best practices to prevent ransomware attacks and malicious attempts to steal from your business. Our team is ready to be your partner in ransomware protection and crime prevention.