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Ransomware – 7 Facts You Need to Know

Ransomware is the name given to a cyber-attack by cyber-criminals where they attack your system and network and encrypt your files making them inaccessible. They then demand a payment for a passcode so you can get back into your system and files and get working again. Here are the top seven things you need to know.

1: It can happen to you

Thinking “it won’t happen to me” is all the cyber-criminals need, they rely on your false confidence. Attacks on government, healthcare, education or financial institutions gets publicity but organisations of all types and sizes get attacked.

2: Ransomware spreads fast

Ransomware is malicious software known as malware and can infect an entire network. It only takes one person in one department to open a ransomware file and every single computer on your business network can be infected, very quickly. The virus can also spread between businesses too. The WannaCry ransomware attack of 2017 first detected in Europe, had in four days, spread to 116 countries.

3: Ransomware targets people

A common method is to send phishing emails in the hope people enter their access credentials. Businesses can get targeted communication emails where the attackers get to know your business first, then send an email impersonating a supplier or customer, and ask you to update details or another action by clicking on a link or downloading a file.

4: Ransomware is costly

Once ransomware has locked down your system you will need a password or decryption key to unlock it and regain access to your files. This will only be supplied once you have paid the ransom to the criminals that attacked you, if they keep their end of the bargain, they are crooks after all.

In Coveware`s analysis of Q3 in 2019 the average ransom payment increased by 13% to 41,198 US dollars compared to Q2 and that does not include the cost of downtime, lost revenue and long term brand damage along with the additional cost removing the ransomware, forensic analysis and rebuilding systems

5: Ransom requires Cryptocurrency

The ransom payment is usually made by bitcoin or another cryptocurrency as it is difficult to trace. Your business will need to buy cryptocurrency with actual cash then transmit the ransom and it doesn’t help that bitcoin is not something you can charge back like a credit card.

6: A recovery plan can help

Planning in advance can help you respond if you do get attacked. Document plans to disconnect infected computers from your network as quickly as possible and power down any machines that might be vulnerable to attack to avoid further spread of the virus.

You should also decide in advance whether your business would pay a ransom. Weighing the costs and benefits before any attack can help you react more strategically.

7: Take action

You don’t have to wait and worry about the consequences of any attack, there are many things you can do to help prevent this type of attack.

  • Filter traffic preventing it from coming into your network in the first place
  • Scan inbound emails for known threats and block certain attachment types
  • Use antivirus and anti- spam solutions and regularly upgrade and patch vulnerable software
  • Allow remote access to your network only from secure virtual private networks
  • Educate all users on the various threat methods used by attackers
  • Back up all your data to more than one location so that you can restore any impacted files from a known source.

Ransomware can happen to any business at any time. If you need any help implementing the best solution to keep your business safe give us a call today on 01543 889 444.