With so many high-profile ransomware attacks being launched against manufacturers, pipelines, and even hospitals, it’s no surprise that many companies are worried about what the future of this threat means for their organizations. Ransomware poses a serious threat, one that cannot possibly be ignored, so we urge you to take action now so you don’t come to regret it later.
Today’s blog is dedicated to helping you take measures to protect your business from ransomware. You will have gained a foundational understanding of the type of threat ransomware is, how it spreads, and what you can do to stop it before it becomes a problem for your company.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a special type of malware that encrypts the files found on a computer or device, essentially locking them down and rendering the user unable to access them. In order to regain access to the files, the hacker responsible for distributing the ransomware demands a payment. In the case of recent ransomware attacks, the payment is usually quite exorbitant and is most certainly not an amount that is budgeted for. Payment is most often requested in the form of Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency. Once the payment is received, hackers claim they will release the decryption key which can begin the process of unlocking the data.
However, we want all businesses to think twice about paying the ransom up-front and in a panic. Paying the ransom is generally counterproductive for a number of reasons. For one, there is no guarantee that paying the ransom will get you your data back. What’s stopping the hacker from accepting payment and just going about their business as usual? The other main concern is that you are essentially funding hackers by giving in to their ransom demands. Furthermore, paying the ransom just reinforces the idea that these types of hacks work, and work well, encouraging hackers to continue pulling off these stunts.
That said, paying the ransom might seem like the only choice at the moment. More and more hackers are implementing dirty tactics that force organizations’ hands when it comes to the ransom. For example, recent attacks have had hackers threaten to release the encrypted data in the event that the ransom is not paid in a timely manner. Doing so puts businesses in a precarious situation; do they pay up and give the hackers what they want, or do they risk their data being released into the wild, potentially subjecting them to fines imposed by strict data security and privacy regulations?
At the end of the day, it’s a lose-lose situation. Therefore, it makes sense to prevent infections in the first place.
How Can You Stop It?
First, you need to understand how ransomware can spread from system to system. At its core, ransomware operates in much the same way as any other type of malware. It can be spread through downloading infected files or attachments, clicking on the wrong links while navigating the web, and other phishing or social engineering tactics used by hackers. Sometimes hackers can utilize holes in your network security to infiltrate and install ransomware on the chosen device. Yes, in many ways, ransomware is no different from your typical malware, but this does not make it any less scary to deal with.
This is good news, as it means that you can double down on tactics used against any other type of malware to protect yourself from ransomware. Through a combination of proactive network maintenance, adequate security solutions, proper data backups and disaster recovery solutions, and training your employees to identify threats, you can be confident that your organization can effectively prevent and respond to ransomware attacks should it need to.
Let Us Help!
No matter how great your defenses, you can never be 100 percent secure from the threats that are out there that could target your business. Therefore, the best you can hope for is that the above measures are enough to deter any would-be security threats. To implement all of the above solutions, North Central Technologies can help. To learn more about how you can take proactive steps toward protecting your business, reach out to us at 978-798-6805.