Tech Threats Today: Things You Need to Know About Ransomware

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regrgtSmall businesses face many challenges these days, but one of the most serious comes from IT threats like computer viruses. These can be very disruptive to your organization, and it is important to do all you can to protect your systems.

However, perhaps the worst threat right now comes from ransomware.

So what exactly is ransomware? Here are some details about what it is, how to prevent it, and how to get rid of it if your small business is affected.

The Threat of Ransomware

Ransomware is a particularly nasty type of malware that attacks your systems and renders your files unreadable. It basically blocks all access to your own system and files and then demands a payment—or a ransom—in order to free up your system so you can access your files once again.

It is a fairly new type of attack, only appearing in the last five years or so. It uses cryptography to prevent you seeing your files, and a note is placed inside folders telling you how to get rid of the malware.

The first thing you will know about an attack is when you cannot access your crucial files. You will see instructions for how to make a payment, which will usually be in Bitcoins so the receiver can remain anonymous.

The payment might be no more than a few hundred dollars, but it could be more. Whatever the amount, you have no idea if the attacker will allow you to access your files once you make the payment, so prevention is often the best strategy, followed by a plan to deal with any attack effectively.

Ransomware Prevention Tips

There are a number of steps you can take to avoid being affected by ransomware. For a start, ransomware is often installed on your systems after someone visits an infected website. You should therefore have controls in place at work to prevent employees from clicking on hyperlinks that lead them to sites that may be compromised.

This is easier said than done, but you could reduce the risk by using a browser add-on to block popups, preventing people from mistakenly visiting dodgy websites.

Email attachments are another common way to infect systems. Make sure your staff do not open unless they are absolutely sure who they are from. Spam is one of the most common ways to get ransomware, and you may even want to use a tool to block suspicious attachments and scan attachments for malware.

Make sure you get into the habit of backing up your systems regularly. This is a form of protection because you might be able to restore your system from a backup without paying the ransom.

Make sure you back-up your files in different places such as in the cloud and on an offline storage device so you always have a way to access your files.

You should also have good antivirus software in place, as well as firewalls, because these add another line of defense. Ensure you update them regularly to protect your systems.

You should also make sure you carry out software updates whenever new software comes out, especially for your operating system. This is one of the easiest ways to prevent cyber criminals getting into your systems.

You should also control access to your PCs so that only authorized people can access them. Prevent other people using the computers by locking them when they are not in use.

What to Do if You Are Affected by Ransomware

The temptation may be to consider paying the ransom when you are affected by ransomware. However, this is risky. What’s to say they will not ask for more money? Instead, it is better to contact a specialist.

There are now services that specialize in ransomware removal for small business attacks, and this can be one of the best options available to you. You will be able to get an experienced team of cyber security experts on the case, and they will have lots of experience at dealing with these situations.

It may take a few days to sort out, but each situation is unique, so you may have to be patient.

It is a very good idea to have a plan in place for your response. You don’t want to be worrying about how to respond when it happens, and instead you need a plan of action so you can respond quickly.

Do Your Best to Avoid Ransomware

Ransomware can be very damaging to your business. It can disrupt your work, cost you money, affect your productivity, and be distressing for everyone involved.

The best strategy you can have is to take preventative measures and reduce the chances that your business will be affected. However, even with all your preventative measures, always have a plan in place so that you can deal with any situation swiftly.

Find a ransomware removal service now so that you know who you can contact in the event of something going wrong. By taking preventative measures and planning for the worst, you can significantly reduce the damage suffered by your business in the event of an attack.

Zohar Pinhasi, CEO and Founder of MonsterCloud, is a leader in opening the cloud computing market to small- and medium-sized businesses. Zohar has 20+ years of experience with sophisticated technology systems. A leader in the fast-moving technology industry trend of cloud services, Zohar has spent the past 12 years evangelizing for small- and medium-sized businesses to shift to the cloud. A calculated risk-taker with deep tech industry knowledge, he continues to champion cloud services to his enterprise and consumer customers. The foundations of Zohar’s knowledge were established during a long training in an elite military technological unit. Zohar is also the founder of GOLBNET, a telecom company. Zohar’s motto: A dream is a seed. Vision plants it. Imagination nurtures growth. Opportunities create blooms. Thoughts become things! (Donna McGoff)

Published by Kidal Delonix (763 Posts)

Kidal Delonix is a contributor to Mr. Hoffman's blog. The views and opinions are entirely his/her own and may not reflect Mr Hoffman's views.

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