Leverage Proactive Security Practices to Reduce Risk of Ransomware Infection

Don’t let yourself fall victim to unsavoury cybercriminals that are set on stealing your hard-earning business funds. Stay safe with proactive cybersecurity support from your local IT services provider.  

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The word ransomware is enough to strike fear in the hearts of IT and business professionals everywhere, making it clear that this threat is growing as opposed to fading away in the past few years. Just the thought that you could suddenly find your business systems completely unavailable, rendering your business stuck in a pre-computer era is challenging enough, not to mention the remediation and additional security required after this type of attack. Specific entities such as healthcare, finance and legal professionals find the idea of ransomware particularly troubling because this often means that hackers have had access to your files and there’s always the potential for data theft on the dark web. Here’s what you need to know to reduce the possibility of a ransomware infection — and quickly return to operations in the event of an attack.

What is Ransomware?

Simply stated, ransomware is a malicious software program that is used to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. Ransomware will encrypt your files, folders and databases and other information on your computer system or network until you pay the ransom. In theory, you will receive an unlock code from the hackers who developed the ransomware after you pay the ransom. Unfortunately, only a portion of victims of ransomware receives the unlock code. Sometimes, the unlock code doesn’t even work! Let’s assume that you decided to pay the ransom. Also, if you could simply pop out your favourite credit card and send the hacker your information — who would do this? Cybercriminals certainly don’t want their unsavoury activities recorded, and they require underhanded means of payment, too. This often includes buying Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, which can be a challenge to purchase if you are not familiar with the required steps.

Is My Business at Risk from Ransomware?

If you believe that your business is so small that hackers will simply overlook you, you are sadly mistaken. According to Business News, Australian small to mid-size enterprises (SMEs) are among the hardest hit by this type of malicious software. A recent report shows that 91% of Australian SMEs have reported a ransomware attack of some kind in the past two years. That means it’s no longer a matter of “if” your business will be attacked, but “when.” Small businesses are considered vulnerable because there is a perception in the hacking community that these organizations are not as well-protected as larger enterprises. With this intel in hand, cybercriminals are actively targeting SMEs and using them as an entry point to gain access to more significant partners and vendors in different parts of the world.

How Can I Protect My Business from Ransomware?

Protecting your assets and taking steps for safety can help, but there are systematic recommendations that businesses should follow to increase their cybersecurity awareness. Small businesses are the target of 43% of all cybercrimes, and companies of 100 people or fewer are seldom taking the steps necessary for protection. While this guide from the Australian government has some helpful tips, it’s difficult to overstate the danger of ransomware to your business. Here are a few high-level tips to consider for the safety of your business:

  1. Have a solid business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place, with backups onsite and the cloud.
  2. Invest in the best cybersecurity software, including anti-malware and antivirus software, DNS filtering, business-grade firewalls and more.
  3. Never click any link or open an attachment until you’re able to verify the authenticity of the sender. Even if you know the sender and weren’t expecting an attachment, consider that this could be a ransomware attack!
  4. Make sure you and your staff participate in regular cybersecurity awareness training. This helps ensure that you all have the most up-to-date information that will help keep your business safe.
  5. Ensure your IT services company has a true focus on cybersecurity. Do your research before signing an agreement.

When you are ready to get more information about the various threats that are facing your organization, contact the professionals at Sydney Technology Solutions at (02) 8212 4722 to schedule a free initial consultation. We will work through your specific questions around cybersecurity and share best-practices that will help keep your enterprise safe both now and in the future.