What is Ransomware and How Can You Prevent It?
Every 40 seconds, a company is impacted by ransomware. This number is continuously growing. Ransomware is not a new threat — it’s been around for decades — but new technologies have made it far more effective than ever before. 2017 and 2018 have both seen some incredibly high profile ransomware attacks, which struck hundreds of companies and led to millions of dollars in damages. Ransomware can hit any business, regardless of how large or small.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malicious program that spreads across a network encrypting files. Most ransomware is intended for financial gain, but some ransomware is designed purely to disrupt your services. There are even examples of political ransomware, which is designed to effect political change. Regardless, ransomware won’t unencrypt your files without a passcode and getting that passcode often requires paying a huge ransom. These ransoms can be as much as a few hundred dollars per file.
How Does Ransomware Attack?
The most common way ransomware is distributed is through spam emails. These spam emails may represent phishing attacks; they may look like legitimate emails and prompt your employees to click on them. Once the ransomware runs across your network, it will encrypt all of your files with extreme speed. There is no way to decrypt these files without the passcode. There is no known way to break this type of encryption. Further, paying the attackers will not guarantee that you’ll be able to access your files.
How Can You Prevent Ransomware?
Though training is part of prevention, realistically you can’t prevent all of your employees from occasionally making a mistake. The phishing attempts that spread ransomware often look extremely convincing. Instead, you need to bolster your automated security solutions.
- Keep your operating system and applications patched and up to date. Ransomware and other malicious programs often take advantage of system vulnerabilities as they are discovered. Patching is the only way to resolve these.
- Make sure administrative privileges don’t allow for the installing of new software. Your network security should be set up so most employees are not able to install new programs on the system without express permission.
- Install next-generation antivirus software. Your antivirus solution has to be able to both detect and mitigate ransomware threats; this is often a significant task, as these threats change continuously.
- Backup your files frequently. Ransomware works by keeping your data away from you. If you have current backups, you can simply get rid of the threat and restore your data.
- Keep your security solutions up to date. Your security software can’t protect you from the newest threats unless it is always current.
Protecting your system from new and existing threats can be a full-time job, and you may not have the resources internally. This is why many businesses are instead working with a security partner. Johnson Business Technology Solutions can help you secure your organization, so you don’t need to worry about these types of attacks. Contact Johnson Business Technology Solutions for more information about the dangers facing your business today.