With the growing threat of ransomware being covered in the news, keeping your small business safe is more important than ever. Although you can’t eliminate every risk, there are steps you can take to reduce your odds of being infected. Here are some facts about ransomware and tips on keeping your company data protected.
What Ransomware Is
Ransomware is a cyberattack that uses a computer virus to hold data hostage until payment is received. A user typically is tricked into clicking on a link or attachment that infects the computer with a virus. For example, an email claiming to be from a delivery company may say a driver attempted to deliver a package, is still in your area and can redeliver the package in a few hours if you click on a link. After a user clicks the link, ransomware encrypts the computer’s hard drive and locks users out of computer files. A message threatens to destroy the files if a ransom isn’t paid.
How Ransomware Affects Your Company
Because a substantial amount of data is stored on computers, ransomware can cripple your small business. If your employees are locked out of their computers, you lose productivity. Because your company needs access to its data to operate, you’re more inclined to pay the ransom. However, you probably don’t have extra funds available to benefit cybercriminals. The current rate is $300 per computer, typically payable by bitcoin. Also, there’s no guarantee you’ll receive your data unencrypted at all if you pay the ransom. In addition, you’ll be funding the improvement of ransomware and making things worse for both yourself and others. Because cybercriminals know you’ll pay, you increase your chances of being targeted again for more money.
How to Protect Against Ransomware
Create a tiered or distributed backup strategy that keeps multiple copies of backup files in various locations and on different media. Back up your files each day. If your files become encrypted, you can remove the ransomware and restore the backup rather than pay the ransom or lose your data. In addition, educate your employees on social engineering so they don’t click on links or open attachments from people they don’t know.
How Secure Is the Cloud?
Ransomware can modify Internet Explorer Zone Settings, delete shadow copies, disable Windows Startup Repair and terminate processes such as Outlook and Microsoft Word. Ransomware can also encrypt a computer’s master boot record, cause the system to crash to a blue screen and make the entire system mostly unusable. When the computer is rebooted, a ransom note with a skull demands payment in bitcoin.
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For help with keeping your business operating, contact USA Staffing Services and work with a leader in back office solutions!