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So what is ransomware and how does it impact businesses?

ransomware_1

So what is ransomware and how does it impact businesses?

Ransomware is a generic term for a category of malware that restricts access to a device or the file(s) on a device until a ransom is paid. It’s a method for criminals to make money by infecting the device and has become very effective at causing havoc for a business or organization that is unfortunate enough to become a victim.

Ransomware has now become a major security issue with businesses being held to ransom and in some cases paying to get their data unlocked. Numerous incidents have been cited where thousands of pounds have been paid: hospitals, charities, hairdressers have all been held to ransom. One university has suffered 21 attacks in the last year alone!

The true scale of the problem is somewhat hard to define though because, understandably, many businesses and organisations are reluctant to reveal they’ve been held to ransom because of fears about being targeted again, or losing existing or new customers.

People are held to ransom in just a few seconds

Unsuspecting victims are infected through emails impersonating customer support personnel from well-known company brands, it only takes a click and once activated, the malware encrypts files and demands payment, typically a few hundred pound within a timeframe of 48 or 72 hours.

UK National Crime Agency claimed ransomware attacks have increased in frequency and complexity, and now include public threats by the perpetrators to publish victim data online, as well as the permanent encryption of valuable data.

4 ways to protect your computers and networks against ransomware

Stay vigilant.
One of the most common methods of infecting a system is via a spearheading email with a malicious attachment or link. If you are not expecting the email, or it looks suspicious in any way, do not open it and delete it.

Back up your software and systems.
It’s really important you keep your software and operating system updated. Back-up your files regularly and don’t forget to keep your backup media disconnected from your PC. Otherwise, your backups might get encrypted as well. This also applies to storage and network drives e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.

Use the latest protection software.
We take ransomware very seriously and we provide AVG AntiVirus Business Edition which will detect and block ransomware and other malware variants from infecting your devices and servers – leaving you to focus on what matters.

Don’t pay.
If you do fall victim, do not pay. Funding these criminals only encourages them to attack other people. Research the specific infection to see if there is a decryption tool. We offer 7 of these tools for free with more on the way.

Don’t be the 1 in 3

Taking proactive steps to protect your organization from a ransomware attack is essential to the smooth running of your business—it is your livelihood, after all. Contingency and remediation planning are also crucial to business recovery and continuity, and these plans should be tested regularly.

WCR provide a range of services to help protect your business including proactive monitoring 24/7, patch management (updates for windows and important software), Anti Virus and Malware protection, onsite and cloud backups solutions. If you would like to discuss in more detail or book an Free IT Audit fill in the form to request a call back or email us on info@wcrservices.co.uk

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