Ransomware is an extremely high risk cybersecurity threat that security industry experts worldwide, expect to grow significantly this year and beyond.
Ransomware is essentially malicious software that gives a hacker the ability to lock you out of your business by encrypting mission critical files on individual computers or across entire networks.
Cybersecurity Research on Ransomware
According to one a recent cybersecurity research report more than 8 million samples of ransomware were active in the second quarter of 2016.
It is critical now more than ever, that businesses and their staff are properly educated to mitigate this growing threat.
The minute the attacker gains access, files and folders can be encrypted that can only be released, usually by paying huge sums of money – hence ransom.
There are a few key points to note about ransomware enterprise attacks:
- The attacker typically has a list of the file extensions that they are going to encrypt. These files tend to be essential to business operations.
- Reverse-engineering the encryption (“cracking”) the files, is virtually impossible without the original encryption key. The attackers are the only people who will have the original encryption key.
- Unintentional human error due to a lack of cybersecurity education is one of the top reasons that hackers are able to infiltrate a network or computer.
What Precautions Can Businesses Take?
Ransomware can work its way into a computer, server, or network from practically any source. Popular modes of entry include:
- Unsafe, un-validated, or fake websites.
- Emails and email attachments that employees open from unknown recipients.
- Clicking on malicious links that are embedded within social media posts, instant messenger chats, or emails.
One of the best tactics to avoid ransomware attacks is to ensure that your employees are educated about the potential dangers.
From teaching employees to never click on a suspicious embedded links, to showing them how to spot fake emails, or webpages. Education is paramount to protecting your business and data assets. In addition to employee education, company-sensitive, confidential, and important files should be securely backed up in an unconnected and secure storage facility.
By taking the latter precaution you can mitigate the bargaining power of a hacker using ransomware.
Ransomware can be used by domestic and international hackers at any point in time, unless businesses take the steps needed to protect their vital data and computer systems.
Education, secure data storage, and working with a top cybersecurity company can help businesses to avoid the costly repercussions of a ransomware attack.