On Friday, May 12, a global ransomware attack hit in over 100 countries. This was one of the biggest cyber attackers to date. According to BBC News, approximately $70,000 were paid to cyber hackers.
This terrifying event has served as a wake up call to many businesses that ransomware is a very real threat. No matter the size of business, where you are located or what industry you are in; you can get attacked.
If you are one of the many CEOs or business owners who is wondering what is ransomware and how can you protect yourself, this article is for you.
Ransomware is a computer virus, or malware, that has been growing over the last few years. It locks your files and requires you to pay to access them. Usually ransomware encrypts your data so you cannot open it, blocks you from run any programs except for ones that allow you to pay the ransom. Ransomware usually displays an image or message on your screen that lets you know your data has been encrypted and you have to pay a specific sum of money to get it back. The ransom payments usually have a time-limit. Ransomware does not only affect desktop computers. It can also hit laptops and mobile phones.
Ransomware usually hits through someone clicking a link with a virus or by clicking an attachment. It can spread to other computers on the network and it can be disastrous for your company.
The question, of course, is how to protect against ransomware? One of the most important things you can do is backup important data every single day. When you backup your data, you can avoid having to pay to see your data again.
It’s also important to set a protocol within your organization to not click on suspicious links or attachments. Remember that hackers are tricky and their links and attachments often look normal. Be sure to look at email addresses and check for extra letters or numbers or click to see the full address to ensure it’s coming from the proper sender.
You also need to install software updates on a regular basis. Turn on auto-updates and run antivirus software. Make this a regular habit in your business. Updates aren’t just there to frustrate you with a reminder box. They occur because software systems are patching security flaws on a regular basis and their updates include those patches.
Finally, it’s always important to be vigilant. While you can enlist every protection, there is always a possibility of an attack. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated every day so remain vigilant and, if necessary, hire an outside security team to help.