Ransomware – the multi-million-dollar crime scheme that strikes everyone from police departments to individuals – is a pretty terrifying prospect. No one expects their computer to be remotely hijacked and locked up until ransom is paid to the hackers, but that’s exactly what happens to people all over the world, every day.
When they find that their essential files or their computer has been encrypted for ransom, many people cave and pay up – in fact, these criminals made an estimated $24 million last year. But even if you have everything backed up and you decide not to pay, don’t assume there won’t be damage done. You may have to pay a lot of cash to get your devices restored, and you could lose a lot of time, too.
So how can you protect yourself and your company?
You’ve heard it time and time again, but the best way to not be vulnerable to a ransomware attack is to back everything up somewhere else. Perform a backup every day so that if all your equipment and servers get locked up, you won’t have to pay the ransom to get access to your data again.
We all know not to click links that come in suspicious looking emails, or to reply to someone asking for the password to our bank account. But these days, phishing comes in a much more well-disguised package known as “malvertising.” In this method, malware is embedded in ads that are delivered through sites you trust – such as the New York Times. To thwart this method, ad blockers or patching security holes in browsers can help protect your system.
Having said all of the above, there will still be the occasional user who opens an email they shouldn’t or goes to an infected site. When this happens, it’s imperative that your security technology be up to snuff. Still, no security product can protect your company 100%, which is why you need to take other measures to protect your systems – such as patching security holes to stop malware from getting in. Keep your third-party apps updated, whitelist approved software, and limit permissions so that malware can’t install without an administrative password.
If all of your protective measures fail and ransomware does take hold of your computer or files, shut down everything you possibly can to keep it from spreading further. Disable the WiFi and Bluetooth, and definitely disconnect your infected systems from the corporate network. The more you can shut down, the better. At that point, you have to decide if it’s worth it to pay the ransom (the FBI advises you not to, but some entities like hospitals choose to pay because lives may depend on their systems) or whether you want a professional to try to find a way around it.
One of the best things you can do to protect yourself and your business against ransomware is to have an expert on your side. At Keep IT Simple, we take pride in our ability to set up your business IT system, maintain your equipment and software, and be there if a crisis (like ransomware) hits your office.
Interested in learning more about who we are and what we do? Contact us today!