Ransom + Software = Ransomware: How to Prevent Data Hostages
The word ransom conjures images of true crime documentaries and ski mask clad villains holding your data hostage in cyberspace. In fact, the term “ransomware” is combination of the words ransom and software. This type of cyber attack typically operates by phishing scams, using malicious email links and attachments or drive-by downloading to gain access to sensitive information. Hackers steal company data, encrypt it, and charge unsuspecting victims an exorbitant ransom fee (typically in bitcoin so as not to be traced) to obtain access to their own documents, networks, and servers.
The good news is you won’t need a team of secret agents to put these villains in their place. Knowledge and simple preemptive action is key when it comes to protecting your company’s data.
A Targeted Strike
Understanding the ways hackers exploit vulnerable networks can save businesses a lot of time and money in data recovery costs. Hackers have become more sophisticated in recent years, targeting specific entities they know will pay a high price for the safe return of their data. Companies that handle sensitive and confidential information are the most vulnerable, with ransomware attacks becoming prominent in the healthcare industry as well as in corporations that utilize CRM (Client Relationship Management) systems.
The latest victim? Municipalities. According to a recent report from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, although the number of ransomware attacks have decreased in recent years, infiltration attempts are becoming more targeted and devastating where successful. Hackers now have the ability to shut down entire cities and demand payment to restore vital services.
An Impenetrable Defense
Now that we know how ransomware works and who is at risk, we can begin taking steps to fortify our data security.
Foremost, always backup your data, servers, and networks. Cloud servers and SaaS can cut down on vulnerable infrastructure, provide reliable and automated backups, and keep your data stored in one, convenient location.
A dependable firewall is essential for any business. Strong antivirus software updates automatically to account for new and evolving threats, detecting risks before they become a problem.
Implementing basic technology training for your large or small business can enable employees to take cyber security into their own hands and learn more about common phishing scams, suspicious links, and malware prevention.
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