You have more than likely at some point, whether it be in a Hollywood movie or in the news, heard or read something about someone being kidnapped and held for ransom. You hear about it, see it in movies, but probably go about your everyday life not worrying too much about it. However, while the likelihood of someone you deeply care for being kidnapped and held for ransom is low, it will most likely happen to computer data at some point or another.
In this recent article, it discusses how ransomware is becoming one of the most prevalent forms of cyberattacks; and that it has increased by 231% between 2016 and 2017. Despite this increase, a study conducted by AVG shows that still roughly 1 out of 3 small business owners have no idea what ransomware is or how to protect themselves. Considering how expensive ransomware attacks can be, this number is alarmingly high. It is very important to understand how these attacks are commonly orchestrated and how to best protect yourself and your business.
Cybercriminals look for vulnerabilities in your system to execute a ransomware attack such as software that hasn’t been updated, error messages related to maintenance and upgrades, and websites that are not secure. To combat these vulnerabilities, you should:
- Be vigilant in updating your software.
- Disable your error messages and instead access them on your website’s backend or create a php.ini file.
- Be sure your company’s website is HTTPS secure.
Another common way cybercriminals access data is via email which is referred to as “phishing.” They will send an email with an attachment or link that after being clicked on will give them access to all your data. Therefore, it is important to not click on links or open attachments in emails that you are not familiar with or seem suspicious. It is also important your employees take the same precautions.
Finally, the biggest lifesaver is to make sure you are backing everything up using revisions! If all your data is backed up, cybercriminals have no collateral. It saved the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency $73,000 when they were hit by a ransomware attack although it still cost them millions to weather the problem. That amount of money, especially if you are a small business, can make or break your ability to continue to thrive.
If you aren’t sure how protected your organization is from ransomware, or have any questions about how to improve your level of security and keep your data safe, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 703-790-0400 or visit us on the web at www.optfinity.com.