Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that cyber-attacks, or "hacking", has been in the news quite a bit as of late. Cybersecurity is not a new phenomenon by any means, but hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and cyber-attacks are becoming more vicious and costly, with ransomware leading the pack. According to a new WatchGuard Technologies cybersecurity survey, more than four in five (80 percent) cybersecurity resellers believe ransomware will be their customers’ biggest concern this year.
I'm sure you've heard of ransomware, and you probably know that it has something to do with cybersecurity. But it sounds really scary and you may not be entirely sure what it is.
So what is ransomware? What does it look like? How will you know that you've been hit? If you're hit, what are you supposed to do? Here's a few frequently asked questions we get about ransomware, answered below:
1.) What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of advanced malware attack that takes hold of your device, either locking you out entirely or encrypting files so they cannot be used. The attacker will then make themselves known with an “official” ransom demand, as well as thorough instructions and timelines on how to make a payment to either regain access to your device or to receive the decryption key for the captive files.
2.) What does a ransomware message look like?
3.) How does a ransomware attacker gain access to my device?
Ransomware attackers can gain access to your device in a variety of ways. An attack can be downloaded from a malicious or compromised website. It can be delivered as an attachment from a phishing email, aka one of those suspicious-looking emails requesting personal information like bank account number or social security number. Attackers can also gain access by using an exploit kit, which is a software kit designed to detect vulnerabilities in a computer system that it is communicating with.
4.) What is the potential impact to my business if I'm hit?
Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to ransomware attacks because they usually don't have the proper cybersecurity measures, as well as a backup and disaster recovery plan in place.
- You will temporarily or permanently lose yours and your clients' proprietary information.
- You will experience downtime (length of downtime will depend on how solid your backup plan is), incurring the costs of bringing your operation to a halt.
- You will lose money if you decide to pay the ransom. BUT - paying the ransom doesn't gaurantee that you will have access to your files again.
5.) What do I do if I believe I've been hit with ransomware?
Contact your IT provider IMMEDIATELY.
Don't unplug anything or click on anything before you get a hold of your IT provider, as they will need to determine whether it is a valid piece of malware, and whether it is affecting more than just your device.
6.) How do I protect myself against a ransomware attack?
Just like so many other things in life, it is not going to be a one-size-fits-all type of thing. You will need a comprehensive, multilayered approach tailored to your business. This includes having the right security software and hardware solution, educating your employees, performing regular software updates, and backing up all critical devices.
For more information on how to prevent ransomware attacks on your business' most critical information, contact BlackPoint IT today at 866.575.9512 or fill out our contact form and we'll call you.