The number of ransomware attacks is increasing at an alarming rate, making ransomware the biggest cyber threat that businesses are facing today – and we have heard plently of horror stories first hand regarding many London based businesses. The trend is very obvious, you only have to go back to the beginning of 2016. There was a 30% increase in the number of ransomware attacks in Q1 2016 compared to Q4 2015, according to a leading anti-virus and malware application developer.
So, what should you do to protect your London based business? Firstly, you need to know what ransomware is and how it is spread. With this information, you can take measures to secure the points at which ransomware might enter your company. You also need to prepare for the “disaster” scenario — a ransomware infection that impacts your organisation.
What ransomware is and how it is spread
Ransomware is what cybercriminals use to extort money from businesses and individuals. It usually encrypts files, but it also might lock computer systems. The cybercriminals then demand a ransom for the private key needed to decrypt the data.
Cybercriminals use a variety of techniques to spread ransomware. One common way is to use phishing emails that try to trick the recipients into clicking links or opening attached files. If they fall for it, their computers will likely become infected with ransomware (not good!).
Another well known way that cybercriminals spread ransomware is through downloads. Cybercriminals either build a malicious website or post a malicious advertisement (on a legitimate website). When users visit one of these websites or clicks on a “malvert”, code is installed on their computers without them knowing. The code usually redirects the users’ browsers to a server where it tries to find a vulnerability. If one is found, it is used to install malware.
Protecting your company from ransomware
When it comes to ransomware, you need to do all that you can to prevent the infection. Consider taking these measures:
- Use anti-malware software. It helps detect and block known ransomware and other types of malware.
- Update Operating System software (e.g. Windows 10) and applications regularly. Cybercriminals like to target programs with known vulnerabilities, so patching these vulnerabilities reduces the number of exploitable entry points.
- Keep email filtering tools up-to-date. These tools use various filters to help weed out phishing emails and SPAM.
- Most email programs include filtering tools, but you can also purchase advanced filtering solutions.
- Educate employees how to spot phishing and spear phishing emails. You should discuss how dangerous it is to click on untrusted links and open attachments in emails, especially if they are from unknown senders.
- Make sure that Word macros are disabled on your computer. A ransomware attack can be initiated by malicious commands hidden inside a Word macro.
- Educate employees about the importance of avoiding any websites marked as potential security threats by their web browsers or anti-malware software.
The best “back up” plan
Cybercriminals are always devising new ransomware variants and new ways to spread them, so you need to prepare for the possibility of an infection. Specifically, you should regularly back up your files as well as test those backups. If you know you can recover your files from backups, you will not have to give into cybercriminals’ ransom demands should your business fall victim to a ransomware attack. If you need a data backup solution.
Don’t wait… act now
Now is the time to take action to prevent ransomware infections. Waiting could be a costly mistake as some of our prospective clients have discovered. Besides the expenses incurred from having to restore your systems and files, there will be lost income due to the disruption of your business operations. Get in touch with totality services today if you’d like to discuss this futher – our contact details can be found be clicking here.