Ransomware may pose the biggest cybersecurity threat to your business in 2018. Here’s how to protect your data – and your liquid assets – from getting nabbed for a ransom.
What is ransomware?
A malicious software designed and employed by hackers, ransomware encrypts a user’s computer, rendering it unusable until the victim pays a ransom. The cybercriminals usually demand payment in hard-to-trace and volatile cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. Ransomware costs businesses about $1 billion annually and is growing at a rate of 350% per year. A business gets hit by ransomware every 40 seconds. Don’t let yours be next.
Five ways to prevent ransomware from attacking your business’ computers:
- Make regular backups.
Outwit hackers by backing up your data daily. Be sure you don’t backup the files to a space on your machine. Upload them to a cloud or an offline storage device. Even if your computer gets locked down, you won’t have to pay to get your data back. Instead, it will be right at your fingertips … eventually. Accessing it might take your IT team a few days of work.
- Avoid clickbait.
Cybercriminals’ favorite data burglary tools are clickbait emails and malvertising ads. By luring users to click on a deceptively enticing title, the hackers introduce malware onto computers. Don’t feel foolish if you get caught in this trap. Staff at the New York Times and on Capitol Hill have had their computers frozen after inadvertently clicking on a malware-laced email or ad.
You can try adblockers to limit the amount of malware your staff encounter. A more effective approach is training staff to right click on all attachments and scan for malware before opening them. You may need to incentivize staff in order for the program to work. Consider offering a prize to any staff member who finds a malignant attachment before opening it.
- Make sure your antivirus is installed and up to date.
Yes, some evil computer genius in his mom’s basement has probably devised a ransomware variant that can beat your antivirus. But most of the time, an antivirus can head off a malware attack before it starts. Keeping an up-to-date av on all your office computers is an easy, affordable, and surprisingly effective strategy for staying out of ransomware’s clutches.
- Disable JAVA and Flashplayer unless you need them.
JAVA and Flashplayer come installed on a lot of machines because of their popularity. Unfortunately, that same popularity makes them a great way for hackers to tunnel into your system. If your team doesn’t regularly use these applications, disable them until they’re needed.
- Be smart about physical security
The easiest way for a threat actor to slip into your computer is by sitting down at it and manually inserting his malware. Could this happen? Absolutely! It’s not the most frequent way that attackers get into your system, but it’s probably the easiest. They don’t even need to guess your password.
Make sure your team members log out of their computers when they step away from them and that they know not to leave them unattended in a public setting. If you have a work-from-home program, set up some guidelines to keep company computers safe in employees’ homes. And don’t forget to keep your building locked and alarmed.
Keep your Atlanta, GA and Greenville, SC area business safe and secure. Give yourself some peace of mind by scheduling your IT security audit online or giving us a call at (833) 761-4043.