ransomware

Ransomware has been all over the news recently. If a company as large as Equifax can fall victim to a ransomware attack, you can be sure small businesses are at risk. No organization – no matter its size – is immune to attack.

Why Would I Be a Target?

Many business owners mistakenly think their companies are too small to be a target for hackers. In fact, smaller businesses with little-to-no internal IT staff are likely a much greater risk as they often can’t afford or don’t know about information security solutions, best practices and protocols used by larger companies. Hackers target small businesses for just this reason.

Ransomware hackers aren’t so much interested in your information as they are in getting paid. That’s why the average ransom is usually below $2,000. They depend on companies without the adequate resources to defend or recover from a ransomware attack to pay to decrypt their files.

Ransomware Attacks: What Happens?

Ransomware attacks often are successful because an employee clicks a link or downloads a file in a legitimate-looking email that then immediately begins encrypting all your files. For example, human resources may receive a phishing email titled “Resume” with an infected attachment. After downloading and opening the document, the hidden ransomware will begin encrypting files, and a message will usually pop up demanding a ransom be paid in Bitcoin to receive a decryption key from the hacker. Considering that most hackers aren’t ethical, there’s always the possibility that they may not provide you with a key to decrypt your files after you’ve paid the ransom – causing you to lose access to all your data.

Ransomware Attacks: What Should I Do?

If you fall victim to a ransomware attack, you should immediately disconnect your workstation from the network and shut it down to prevent other workstations and your backups from becoming infected and encrypted as well.

If you’ve partnered with a security-conscious managed services provider (MSP), you should call them so they can begin to perform forensics on your systems. They will look for the source of the attack and the vulnerabilities the hackers were able to take advantage of to access your network and files.

If you have working backups that aren’t encrypted, you can easily restore your systems to a state prior to the attack. If you don’t have backups and your information isn’t decrypted, you may have lost your information forever or be forced to recreate it.

You should continue to work with your MSP to implement additional cybersecurity solutions, conduct cybersecurity awareness training for your employees and consistently use information security best practices.

Finally, you should report the incident to the police and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

How Can I Prevent Becoming a Victim?

We believe in a layered approach to security. You can’t just have antivirus software. You also need advanced endpoint security, consistent system patching and so much more. Plus, you need working backups to restore your data if all else fails.

Cybersecurity awareness training is also key to maintaining a secure organization. Your employees need to be able to identify possible risks and avoid them. Your employees are often your best defense – and your weakest link.

Outsourcing your information technology to a managed services provider like Simpleworks IT can take much of the cybersecurity worry off your hands. Improve your ability to defend against cyberattacks by working with an MSP with experience and expertise in cyber security including back-up and disaster recovery, cloud solutions and more.

With expertise in back-up and disaster recovery, Simpleworks IT can help defend your business against cybersecurity threats and IT challenges. Find out why we’re Colorado Springs’ leading managed IT provider. Contact us at 719-476-0444.