Even the mention of ransomware is often enough to make the blood run cold in many business owners and commercial IT managers. With a range of high-profile ransomware cases filling the news feeds in recent years, ransomware is definitely something that SMEs should be taking seriously.However, many of the textbook solutions to the ransomware threat involved dealing with a successful attack rather than preventing it – by means of cyber insurance, data restoration, and so on.
Is Ransomware So Powerful That There’s Not A Chance That Businesses Can Prevent It?
Fortunately, no. As unpleasant and dangerous as ransomware is, it is by no means infallible, and most ransomware programs are unsophisticated and fairly easy to protect against. Let’s take a deeper look at why prevention is better than cure for ransomware, and why business owners shouldn’t be afraid to take proactive steps to avoid it.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malware application that, should it be inadvertently downloaded and installed onto a device (e.g. through a phishing attack), encrypts and locks files on a computer – and then automatically demands payment to access the decryption key. Ransomware has rapidly grown to become one of the most common forms of malware, and it can be devastating to individuals and businesses alike.
What happens If You Suffer A Ransomware Attack?
If you’ve suffered a ransomware attack, firstly, don’t panic. The ransoms requested are normally payable in crypto currency and are generally quite small. This doesn’t mean you should pay – don’t! Successfully extorting payments just encourages the criminals to keep trying. Although ransomware can lock or exclude you from certain files or parts of your hard drive, or even from your complete operating system, the program isn’t usually able to steal or extract this knowledge, so your data security may not have been breached. We recommend contacting a data security specialist, such as TMB, immediately. Most ransomware locks can be disarmed and decrypted harmlessly without having to pay the ransom, and you won’t lose any data if you’ve conducted regular backups.
But Like We Say, Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Ransomware can come from a variety of sources, including malicious websites, email or SMS attachments, or even other users on the same server, so regular scans and an advanced cyber security firewall can often help screen out and identify threats before they cause any damage to your business.
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from ransomware attacks:
Maintain cloud-based real-time backups of your critical data so that if you do get infected, you can restore your system without having to pay the ransom.
Put company-wide plans and policies in place for how to respond to a ransomware attempt and give your team the right training and support so that they don’t panic.
Harden your endpoints against attack by ensuring that all devices have up-to-date security patches installed.
Practice good IT hygiene by regularly scanning all your business devices for malware and suspicious behaviour and activity on your systems.
Strengthen your resilience to ransomware and other cybercrime across your cloud-based and Internet-facing applications by using secure access practices and application whitelisting.
Implement strong spam filters and email security safeguards on all company devices and install firewalls to prevent malicious emails from reaching your employees’ inboxes.
Cyber Security Services For Businesses From TMB
At TMB, we offer a range of tailored digital security services for SMEs, to help you work online and access cloud applications in safety and security, without the threat of malware and ransomware. To find out more about protecting your data, employees, and customers online, please call 0333 016 2203 today or click here to send us an enquiry.
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