How to Protect Your Business Against Ransomware Attacks
While it’s true the U.S. is currently witnessing a surge in all forms of cybercrime, ransomware is still the most prevalent attack vector. What is ransomware, and how can you ensure that your Ohio business stays safe?
Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts your files and data so you can’t access them. A bad cyber actor will then demand payment (ransom) to give you back access and control over your files. Theoretically, the attackers will send you a decryption key once you have settled the agreed amount. But this is not always the case; sometimes, they will continually try to frustrate you into paying more money.
Why Should Ohio Based Organizations Take Ransomware Seriously?
Ransomware attacks have continually been aggravating in both scope and severity. Here are a few reasons why you wouldn’t want to experience one:
- Ransomware Is Very Costly: The average cost of recovering from the aftermath of a ransomware attack is $730,000. If you decide to pay the ransom, this amount doubles to over $1.4 million. This is definitely a significant financial setback, even for a multinational organization. For a small to medium-sized enterprise like yours, such an event can be business-ending.
- Ransomware Attacks Are Counterproductive: Apart from dealing with hefty recovery costs, you also have to withstand interruptions in your production processes. This ranges from network downtime to completely shutting down some workstations–or even the entire organization in extreme cases.
- A Ransomware Attack Is Bad for Your Public Image: In this digital age of information, nobody wants to work with a business that can’t guarantee their credentials’ safety and integrity. A successful ransomware attack on your network creates a lot of doubt about your security protocols’ reliability. People will start questioning whether you have put enough security measures in place. With their increasing skepticism around data security, consumers will not work with you in such a situation.
How Can You Safeguard Your Ohio Business from the Threat of a Ransomware Attack?
First, you must understand how a ransomware attack unfolds. Typically, a bad cyber actor will send you an email with embedded links or images. On clicking these attachments, you’re redirected to a site that encrypts all your files. Such links are also found in several ‘safe’ online sites run by the attackers to lure unsuspecting netizens.
Here’s the thing; the attacker must get an individual who’s logged into your organization’s network to click on a malware-infested link. So, if you can find a way of preventing this, then you’re a step farther towards securing your systems.
Consider implementing the following five ransomware prevention best practices:
- Deploy Reliable Spam Filtering Tools for Your Email Services: A good email spam filter should notify you anytime you receive a message from unknown sources. Most modern responsive filters can analyze email contents for similarity to previously identified threats and appraise you in case of a match.
- Implement Up-To-Date DNS Filtering Protocols to block your corporate gadgets from accessing threat sites.
- Regularly Train Your Staff on Ransomware Threats and How to Avert Them: When it comes to ransomware attacks, the weakest link is your first line of defense–your employees. Without proper training, they’re more likely to click on infected links and visit threat sites that could expose your network to ransomware. Several statistics show that cyberattacks are reduced sevenfold by a well-thought-out cybersecurity training program.
- Conduct Regular Network Security Assessments: How robust are your email gateways in blocking unsolicited attachments? Assess the reliability of all your security protocols, particularly those that seek to prevent ransomware attacks. Such audits should also include occasional simulated ransomware attacks to test your staff’s readiness levels to respond to a real breach or hack.
- Have Backups for All Your Files: You can always use the backups to sustain basic operations as you’re working on a permanent solution to the ransomware attack.
Above all, be on the lookout for unsolicited attachments. If infected links can get past your gateways, your systems are as good as hacked.
In Case of a Ransomware Attack, Should You Pay Ransom?
Each ransomware event is unique, so it’s impossible to say there is only one ‘right’ way to handle such an event. We know that the allure of settling the ransom and resuming normal operations may sometimes be enticing and irresistible. However, note that there’s no guarantee that the attacker will send you a decryption code on paying the agreed amount. Settling ransoms only serves to appreciate bad cyber actors and encourage them to launch more attacks. In some circumstances, however, it may be your best or only option. If you find yourself facing a ransomware incident and aren’t sure what to do, ask for help.
Why wait until you have to choose between paying hefty ransoms or losing your files? ARCIS Technology Group can help protect your firm from these precarious eventualities. Give us a call at (330)236-1011 or send an email to email@example.com, and let’s discuss how.