One of the fastest growing malware threats, ransomware attacks have occurred a whopping four thousand times since January 1, 2016. An incredibly profitable scheme for cyber criminals, ransomware attacks have affected everyone from online casinos to retailers to hospitals. In case you didn’t know that already, a ransomware attack is a virus that infects your computer files by locking them. After locking the files, cyber criminals demand a ransom to unlock them. Today, this malware threat is on the rise and is affecting businesses across the globe.
A software application or malicious code containing viruses, ransomware is getting tougher to prevent. For businesses, the consequences of a ransomware attack can be devastating. If they affect the shared location within an organization’s network, ransomware attacks can completely paralyze the operations of that organization. For this reason, businesses, regardless of their size, need to find out how they can prevent and defend against such attacks. Before we find out the ways of protecting your business from a ransomware, let’s take a look at the three levels of ransomware.
Three Levels of Ransomware
Malicious software, ransomware blocks access to files on a network until a ransom is paid. There are three levels of ransomware attacks. Let’s take a look at them.
This is the low-grade level of ransomware. When this type of ransomware attacks occurs, a payment will be demanded from you to fix malware issues detected by fake antivirus tools.
Browser or Screen Locking Ransomware
This is the middle grade level of ransomware. When this type of ransonware attack occurs, you’ll receive U.S department of Justice or F.B.I messages asking you to pay a fine for an illegal activity detected on your computer. The messages will be from law enforcement scams.
This is the most dangerous level of ransomware. When this type of ransomware attack occurs, you’ll see pop-up messages that inform you that your files are encrypted and that you must pay a ransom before a deadline to get them back.
There you have it—the three levels of ransomware attacks. Of the three types of the ransonware attacks mentioned above, the most dangerous is the encrypting ransonware. So, how dangerous is encrypting ransonware to your business? Let’s take a look.
How Dangerous Is Encrypting Ransomware To Your Business?
Regardless of their size, all businesses are vulnerable to ransomware attacks such as encrypting ransonware. In fact, more than a million ransonware attacks on businesses are attempted each year. An encrypting ransonware can encrypt the most important files of your business including confidential customer information, medical data and accounting records. Once you suffer from an encrypting ransonware, you won’t be able to get your files back until you pay a ransom.
According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, businesses can expect to lose more than $65,000 if about thousand of their records are breached by a ransonware attack. In addition to returning encrypted files, some new types of ransonware attacks are demanding ransom from businesses to not leak their data online. Now, many businesses want to know whether or not they should pay the ransom if they suffer from a ransonware attack.
Since it’s the quickest way to retrieve files, law enforcement agencies such as the F.B.I encourage businesses to pay the ransom when they suffer from a ransonware attack. However, cyber security professionals recommend otherwise. According to them, there’s no guarantee that a business will be able to access files again after the payment of the ransom. Also, once you pay a ransom to retrieve your files, you become an automatic choice for future malware infection.
Are You Vulnerable To A Ransomware Attack?
Today, many businesses and even some individuals want to know whether or not they are vulnerable to a ransonware attack. While predicting right away whether or not you’re vulnerable to a ransonware attack is not possible, there are some things that make some businesses more prone to ransonware attacks than the others. A business is a vulnerable to a ransonware attack if:
- It uses legacy software
- It has an unpatched browser and/or OSes
- It uses outdated equipment
- It doesn’t have a legitimate back up plan
- It lacks a comprehensive cyber security strategy
Using the aforementioned information, you can determine whether or not your business is vulnerable to a ransonware attack. If it is vulnerable to a ransonware attack then you can protect your business in the following ways:
Back Up Your Files
The first thing you need to do to protect your business from a ransomware attack is backing up your files. By backing up your files, you’ll ensure that you don’t have to pay a hefty ransom for files that you’ve lost to a ransomware attack.
Educate Your Employees
Education is the key to preventing ransonware attacks. The majority of these attacks occur via infected emails. By training your employees to never open emails from people they don’t know, you’ll decrease your chances of being infected by ransonware.
Patch Your System
As mentioned above, businesses with unpatched browsers and/ or OSes are vulnerable to ransonware attacks. For this reason, you must keep your software applications, OSes, and browsers patched and up-to-date.
The final thing that you can do to protect your business from a ransonware attack is centralize security. A ransonware attack is more likely to affect businesses with computers having individual antivirus security protection. If you want to minimize the risk of ransonware attack then you must centralize security by using a security solution that protects everything on your business’s network.
As seen above, ransonware attacks can be devastating for your business. The good thing is that you can protect your business from such attacks by using the aforementioned ways.