Ransomware Is On The Rise. Are You Smart Enough to Stop It?

By | 2018-05-29T06:10:18+00:00 April 7th, 2016|Business Continuity, Business Value, Cloud Services, Security|Comments Off on Ransomware Is On The Rise. Are You Smart Enough to Stop It?

Ransomware attacks are on this rise since last year, and are expected to grow. Millions of samples of ransomware were created between 2013 and 2015 (millions!!!).

Chances are, you’ve been hearing about ransomware a lot lately. Why? Since February of this year, major hospitals, police departments, universities, and school districts have been victims of ransomware attacks.

Ransomware is a way that hackers infiltrate your network and devices and encrypt important files, holding them ransom until you pay a fee (usually in bitcoin) to decrypt them. And the thing is, the ransom is often the least of your worries. Since the hackers can shut down your entire operation, you also lose out on time, remediation costs, opportunity costs and sometimes lost data or legal fees.

There’s a popular misconception is that ransomware is “malware.” It is not always, in fact. Ransomware is often simple encryption software that is totally legal and fools firewalls and other security tools that don’t recognize it as threatening because it can be legitimately deployed on a system to encrypt data that needs to be protected. This is why it can be difficult to spot and to stop.

And don’t think that just because you’re not in healthcare or another particularly vulnerable industry doesn’t mean that a hacker isn’t going to target you. Listen to a podcast from Radiolabopens in a new window that describes the toil one ordinary woman went through when cyber criminals encrypted files on her personal laptop. It’s agonizing.

Luckily, there are ways to help protect yourself and your business from the threat.

Cloud Backups

Ransomware attacks can target backups on an external drive, so that’s not enough. It’s important to back files up to a cloud server that is entirely independent of your network.

Patching

If you’ve been reading our blog then you should know better than to ignore the update notifications on your computer by now! Software patching helps to fix vulnerabilities that can make you wide open to an attack. Duh!

Cyber Hygiene

Don’t click suspicious links. Educate your employees not to click suspicious links. Create strong passwords. Update them frequently. Be vigilant.

Recently, some members of the NCG team started receiving emails that looked like they were coming from other team members or even from ourselves! Luckily, we’re always on our guard for phishing and other attacks because we’re security experts. We didn’t click — but it goes to show how easily this can happen to any business, big or small.

Shut It Down Immediately

This is the number one proven way to minimize the effects of a ransomware attack that has already started. At the first sign, shut down your network completely. Sometimes this can save all of your data from being lost because the hacker hasn’t had a chance to get to it yet. This is how the MedStar hospital group was able to mitigate some of the damage of their recent ransomware episode.

Use Anti-Virus Software

It’s not perfect and it can’t keep up with the amount of new ransomware developed every day, but it’s a good place to start. It will recognize and block some of the most common ransomware attacks.

If you aren’t sure how to implement these strategies, we can help you! The team at Network Consulting Group is experienced with creating tailored security plans that fit the exact needs of your business. We’re happy to educate you and negotiate on your behalf, no obligation required.

You can trust us to do what’s right for youopens in a new window and get you the protection you need for the lowest price possible. You can contact usopens in a new window today!