According to recent statistics and observations, ransomware attacks are on a sharp rise, and the associated costs of successful attacks are skyrocketing. Ransomware attacks remain the most prevalent and damaging forms of cyber-attacks.
In most attacks, the hacker encrypts the victim’s data and demands a payout (ransom) to withdraw the siege. This type of attack is known as encrypting ransomware. The ransomware, in most cases, is delivered to the victim’s computer or server system through spam email attachments and malicious links.
Who Is at Risk?
Unsurprisingly, attackers are now targeting small and medium-sized businesses. SMEs fall easy prey for cyber-attacks since most of them lack robust pre-emptive security measures and attack mitigation mechanisms. Plus, most SMEs don’t have proactive IT support to keep their systems healthy and secure.
Recently, an Australian building surveyor who has been using the same outdated certification platform for years fell victim to an encryption ransomware attack. The hackers demanded $60,000 in Bitcoin to unlock both the server and the data backup. The surveyor was able to negotiate the hackers down to a $20,000 ransom. But it took another $10,000 to clean and rebuild the server afterwards. A number of building surveyors using similar outdated platforms have faced the same problem over the past six months.
How To Prevent Ransomware Attacks
Generally, cyber-attacks are linked to poor cybersecurity practices. There are several defensive measures you can take to guard your systems against ransomware infections.
Exercise Cyber Hygiene
You can identify and avoid phishing and ransomware attempts by observing essential cyber hygiene practices. Avoid opening email attachments from unverified senders, visiting and interacting with questionable sites, giving out your personal data online and installing apps from untrusted vendors.
Run Updated Software
Ensure that your operating systems and all the application software on your computers are up-to-date and patched with the latest security updates. Updated software have fewer exploitable vulnerabilities and better overall protection.
Install and Update Firewalls and Anti-Malware
Install the latest anti-malware and firewall programs and update them regularly. These tools can identify malicious programs and stop them before they do any harm. They also create a sandbox environment for executing suspicious software applications.
Back up Your Data
Back up your files frequently on a dependable backup and recovery system. Ideally, the backup should be off-site and completely detached from the primary data storage system. Data backups must also be tested and checked regularly to make sure they work properly.
Partner with an Experienced IT Consultant
It might be difficult to juggle cybersecurity and other enterprise processes, which is why we recommend hiring an IT consultant to advise you on the tech side of the business. An IT consultant can help you identify vulnerabilities and come up with strategic cybersecurity measures. Alternatively, speak to Visual Approvals about their end-point solutions today. When it comes to cyber-attacks, prevention is indeed better than cure.