Imagine coming home after a long day of work and finding your house key isn’t working, and you can’t get into your home. You look in a window, and you can see everything inside is being held hostage, but you’re completely helpless. Suddenly you get a text message on your phone saying, “Pay us $10,000 now to unlock your home.”
This is exactly what happens in a ransomware attack, but instead, it’s your company’s computers, network, and web servers that are being held hostage.
How Ransomware Works
Using a Trojan file that the user downloads, ransomware enters your device and begins encrypting your files. A message is then sent to the victim, informing them that their files are being held hostage and will not be decrypted until a ransom is paid to the attackers. If the victim fails to pay the ransom within a certain time frame provided by the attackers can result in an increased ransom amount or deletion of files. Ransoms are usually paid in some kind of digital currency like Bitcoin that is difficult to trace.
Common Types of Ransomware
There are two main types of ransomware: crypto and locker ransomware. Crypto ransomware encrypts valuable files on a computer so that a user cannot access them. Cybercriminals will then demand that victims pay a ransom to get their files back. Locker ransomware does not encrypt files. Instead, it will lock the victim out of the device completely. Once they are locked out, cyber thieves will demand a ransom to unlock the device.
Tips for Protecting Your Business from Ransomware Attacks
Educate Your Employees The first defense against a ransomware attack is educating your employees. Many targeted ransomware attacks are introduced through email links and attachments. Educating your employees with the knowledge they need to avoid becoming victims of an attack can prevent many ransomware attacks from succeeding. It is important to train employees on recognizing phishing attacks and having best practices such as not opening attachments or links from unknown senders, checking link URLs before clicking, and never clicking pop-up windows. Training should be ongoing to ensure employees keep up with new threats and maintain secure habits.
Learn more about how GTS can help protect your business and educate your employees on phishing attacks in our previous blog.
Have a Back Up Solution
Having a diligent data backup process in place can limit the damage caused by a ransomware attack, as the encrypted data can be easily restored without having to pay a ransom. That’s why it’s important to back up your files regularly and frequently!
At GTS, we maintain relationships with the best backup tools in the industry and can help your team get set up with secure online or onsite backup systems quickly and affordably.
Software updates usually contain patches for security vulnerabilities and should be installed as soon as they’re available. It’s a good best practice to enable automatic updates whenever possible to streamline this process.
Set Employee Access Based on Job Roles
Giving your employees unlimited access to networks and software applications can be hazardous to your business’s security. Employees using programs or features they don’t need to be accessing can also lead to a multitude of errors and other issues. It’s best to practice the principle of least privilege and configure employee accounts with only the access required for their job roles.
Do Not Pay Ransom!
If you do fall victim to a ransomware attack, it’s important not to pay ransoms unless absolutely necessary. Paying the ransom only establishes you as a paying target for future attacks.
Finally, in addition to following the best practices listed above, as a business owner you should consider implementing ransomware protection solutions to improve your systems’ defenses. At the bare minimum, antivirus solutions and firewalls can help to block common malware.
At Grand Technology solutions we’re happy to help you identify places where your defenses could be stronger and put safeguards in place to keep your business protected. Protect your small business today and give GTS a call at (904) 606-6011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.