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Beware of Ransomware

What Your Business Will Need to Know to Stay Safe in 2016

2015 saw an increase in ransomware attacks – and according to a recent report from Intel Corp’s McAfee Labs, the number of attacks is expected to grow even more in 2016. What does that mean for your business? Potentially a number of issues, which is why it is very crucial that you understand the threats you’re facing and how to combat them.

Ransomware is a strand of malware that gives hackers the ability to encrypt files on an infected computer and then demand a ransom in order for users to retrieve their data. In most cases, the ransom ranges anywhere from $200 to $10,000 and users have no other option to decrypt their files.

  • According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, victims of CryptoWall (one of the most prevalent forms of ransomware) reported upwards of $18 million in losses between April 2014 and June 2015.
  • Even more surprising are statistics from the Verizon 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report, which shows that 23% of Small and Midsized businesses that receive phishing Emails open them – and 11% click on attachments.

So how do you ensure your business isn’t stuck dealing with the damaging fallout of a ransomware attack this year? Keep these points in mind:

  • Knowledge is Key

Even with all of the most comprehensive defences and technical security, all it takes is one user clicking on a suspicious link to infect an entire system. This is why it is important that you understand what ransomware is and how much damage it can do.  It is highly recommended that your employees be trained to know what to look for and what to avoid.

For example, CryptoWall is usually spread using files named HELP_DECRYPT in .txt, .html, .pgn, and .url file formats. In general, employees should be educated not to click on any suspicious files or downloads, especially in Emails that they’re not expecting.

  • Be Proactive

There are several online quizzes, including one from McAfee, that provide examples designed to help employees understand how to recognize an infected Email. Avoiding ransomware is ideal, but it’s not always possible – which is why backups are vital.

The only way to guarantee that you never really lose access to your files and essential business resources is to have reliable, tested backups. Your IT partner should talk to you about backups and disaster recovery planning, so you have peace of mind knowing that even if your workforce falls victim to an attack, your productivity and reputation won’t be compromised by downtime.

  • Ransomware is Always Evolving

Cybercriminals are smart, and they know that to stay ahead they need to constantly evolve. That’s why malware developers introduce new strains of ransomware all the time, making it harder and harder to stay protected. It is imperative that your IT provider understands the current threat landscape and the most effective ways to keep you and your employees protected.

Get in touch with Tier One Technology Partners to learn more about how to proactively avoid online threats and keep your workforce and network protected. Please reach out to our team of IT professionals at info@tieroneit.com or (443) 589--1150 to learn more.

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