Few cyber threats can paralyze your company like a ransomware attack. Your cybersecurity needs to be routinely upgraded and maintained so that the solution you utilize is just as sophisticated as the threats it’s trying to overcome. If larger companies are susceptible to ransomware, then there’s no doubt that small-to-medium-sized businesses are intensely vulnerable—make sure your cybersecurity and ransomware prevention tactics are optimized to eliminate potentially damaging attacks. We’ve listed some helpful information about what a ransomware attack entails, and what you can do to keep your network safe from external threats designed to crater your business.
What is ransomware?
Ransomware (or malware) is a malicious form of software that hobbles your network by denying you access to your data, until you pay a ransom (although it’s not as hackers always keep their word—they’re under no obligation to restore your network to its initial functionality once they’ve been paid the ransom).
Some ransomware attacks are contingent on tricking the user, like in phishing spam—an attachment that shows up in the victim’s email inbox. A phishing email is designed to look just like an email that you’d normally receive—perhaps the sender is a name or entity you recognize, with a message requiring you to click on an unfamiliar link that’s disguised as something else.
Other ransomware variants might take include a notification from what appears to be a law enforcement agency, threatening to shut down your computer due to the presence of pornography, pirated software, or other illicit materials. Notifications like this request a “fine” so that users don’t feel inclined to report the attack to authorities.
How can I prevent ransomware?
Although the attacks have increased their sophistication over the years, so have security awareness protocols. While it might seem daunting to try and repel each and every attack while you wonder what might happen if one sneaks through, it’s much easier to maintain your system slowly over time so that you’re never caught out by a more sophisticated cyberattack. Here are some helpful tips that can you stay out in front of any looming security threat:
- Keep your network patched and up-to-date—the more recently updated your network is, the more likely it is to be able to repel ransomware attacks. Keep your network protection software up-to-date at all times.
- Don’t dole out administrative privileges easily—Make sure that you’re entirely aware of who you’re dealing with, and how they play a role in your network. An easy way to lose control of your network is to be unaware of where important parties are operating from.
- Backup your information—If your operating system does fall victim to a security breach, it’s much easier to recover if your valuable information is stored redundantly in a cloud-based or offsite location.
- Implement security awareness training programs for your staff—If one of your own staff members doesn’t know what to look for, how are they going to be able to identify a security threat when it shows up in their inbox? Make sure that every member of your team is up to speed and well aware of what steps they need to take to avoid compromising workflow, important files, and more for your company.
Just because you don’t have the resources of a larger company, doesn’t mean you’re out of luck when a ransomware attack hits your network. So long as you take the proper precautions and prepare your network as much as you can, ransomware attacks aren’t the end of the world. Take the time to prepare correctly or potentially risk the safety of your company’s valuable data.