As a business owner, how much do you worry about a ransomware attack?
If you think it could never happen to you, think again. Ransomware has exploded into a $1 billion industry, with half of all affected businesses paying $10,000 or more to reclaim their data.If a hospital in Hollywood can be taken hostage (digitally speaking), so can your business.
Don't be caught unaware. In this post, we'll give you some expert advice on dealing with ransomware.
What Is Ransomware?
For starters, what exactly is ransomware? It's a type of malware (malicious software) designed for one purpose--to paralyze every aspect of your business.
Ransomware enters your computer (usually via infected email attachments or bogus website links) and encrypts your data, making it impossible to retrieve. The only way to get it back (if you can get it back) is to pay a "ransom" to cybercriminals--usually in the form of Bitcoin.
Ransomware is one of many reasons why it's crucial to make backups of your company data. Otherwise, the hijacked information may be lost forever.
How to Respond to Ransomware
The best way to deal with ransomware is to prevent an attack in the first place. Keep up-to-date firewalls and antivirus software on all your company gadgets, and educate yourself (and your employees) on common phishing scams.
What should you do if, despite your best efforts, your website falls victim to a ransomware attack? Here are 4 important do's and don'ts.
1. DON'T Pay the Ransom
If your company files and other valuable information is compromised, you may feel tempted to pay any amount asked to get it back.
Don't do it. Only 19% of people who pay the ransom actually get their data back. Chances are you're just throwing your money away--and enabling the hackers to target someone else.
2. DO Limit Control Access on Your Network
If you have multiple computers in your office, can all of your staff access any information from any computer?
If so, you're setting yourself up to lose everything. In the event of a ransomware attack, the encryption can spread instantly and reach every file in the office.
A better solution is to only give your employees access to what they need to do their job. That way, if one computer is attacked, you can prevent the malware from spreading.
3. DO Make Backups
We said it before, and we'll say it again. Your best defense against a ransomware attack is making secure and regular backups of all your data.
This ensures your business can operate normally after a full system restore.
4. DON'T Panic
A ransomware attack pits you directly against some of the most devious minds in the cyber world.
It's a scary situation to find yourself in, but the worst thing you can do is panic. Take a deep breath and carefully weigh your options before making any decisions.
Dealing with Ransomware: Final Thoughts
A ransomware attack is nothing to take lightly. Hopefully, with the right preparation, your business will never fall victim.
If you do find yourself in that unfortunate circumstance, refer to the tips outlined above when dealing with ransomware.
Ransomware isn't the only digital threat to your business. Click here to learn more about website security and why it's essential for your company.