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Responding to Ransomware Attacks

Although all types of cyber attacks are dangerous, ransomware is quickly becoming the most popular way for hackers to exploit businesses. In mid-2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack affected over 250,000 devices in at least 150 countries and caused massive financial damage. Ransomware attacks caused $5 billion in damage in 2017 compared to only $325 million in 2015, according to global cyber research company Cybersecurity Ventures.

During a ransomware attack, hackers covertly gain access to an organization’s computer systems through phishing scams, denial-of- service attacks or unsecured devices. Then, the organization is “locked out” of its own systems until a financial ransom is paid, usually with the anonymous and digital bitcoin currency.

A business was targeted by a ransomware attack every 40 seconds in 2017. The frequency is expected to increase to every 14 seconds by 2019.*

The best way to prepare your business for ransomware is to take steps to strengthen your cyber security and establish a response plan to resolve an attack as quickly as possible. Here are some of the best ways to respond to ransomware quickly and limit data loss:

  • Determine how long your business can afford to lose access to its computer systems. The time that you can spend addressing ransomware will vary based on your business’s size, industry and reliance on customer data. Determining this time frame before an attack occurs can help you plan the rest of your response process.
  • Update your business’s software regularly. Although no app or operating system is completely safe from hackers, software developers frequently release security updates that remove ransomware exploits. You should also encourage your employees to update their personal devices, especially if they’re allowed to use them on your Wi-Fi network.
  • Create regular backups of your most important data. Many ransomware attacks only target online systems, so keeping an offline backup of your business’s most important data can help mitigate the impact of an attack.
  • Train your employees on cyber security best practices. Ransomware attacks often begin with an easily avoidable event, such as an employee clicking on a seemingly innocent link from an unknown sender. You can help train your workforce by contacting a Marshall & Sterling representative today and requesting our Employee Cyber Training Manuals.



*Source: Cyber Secutiry Ventures
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