The last few years have seen a significant rise in ransomware cases, with attacks against organisations of all sizes growing more sophisticated advanced and targeted. More recently, we have witnessed cases where ransomware has targeted an organisation’s backup files, meaning restoring data in-house has been impossible.
Globally, these attacks have cost countries and businesses, not millions, but billions in revenue. According to Emsisoft, US ransomware attacks cost an estimated $7.5 billion in 2019, and Datto’s survey of 1,400 Managed Service Providers (MSPs) found that two out of five SMBs have fallen victim to a ransomware attack.
The recent increase in ransomware cases targeting backup files means that organisations who suffer a malware-infection of critical systems can no longer rely on backups to restore their vital data. This has a devastating impact on small and start-up businesses.
But how can you prevent cybercrime infiltrating your systems?
Train your staff
Your employees are your front-line defence against any attacks, so they should be equipped with the tools to tackle any attempted breaches.
A good place to start is by empowering staff to be able to recognise suspicious email activity. According to McAfee, phishing email continues to be one of the main entry points for ransomware viruses, especially in the case of targeted attacks.
If an email is received and includes any of the below, then it is highly likely to be suspicious:
• From an unknown sender
• Contains lots of errors
• Is written in another language
• Includes senseless information in the subject line
• Includes applications and programs
• Includes a reminder for payment of an unknown invoice
• An email which only includes the attachment but no message
• Urgent request for a money transfer
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Invest in infrastructure
No matter how small your organisation is, it pays to protect it with the appropriate data security software program which will scan all incoming emails for malware before the intended recipient receives them.
By doing this, you dramatically decrease the risk of a virus infiltrating your system – and of an employee accidentally clicking on it and spreading it through the whole IT network.
With any data security software, it’s important that employees are aware of the importance of running any new updates. While it’s tempting to click “remind me tomorrow”, by updating straight away, you will avoid the chance of a hacker taking advantage of gaps in your data security protocols.
Know what to do in the event of an attack
If you do fall victim to a ransomware attack, do not pay the ransom. This won’t guarantee you get it back, making recovery much more expensive than it needs to be.
Second, do not try to decrypt the data by yourself – you could end up unintentionally destroying your data permanently.
Finally, check your backup. If ransomware gets through the network perimeter and a full backup is not available, data recovery may still be possible. Each scenario requires a different approach to data recovery. However, only global vendors with a proven track record with enterprise systems should be trusted.
Lynn Walker is the VP of Global Marketing at Ontrack, the world’s leading data recovery specialists. She has also managed and lead dynamic marketing teams for 10 years. In addition, Lynn manages teams from almost every continent at Ontrack.