It’s no secret that cyber crime is on the rise. You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard about the WannaCry chaos or Petya. Petya paralyzed thousands of machines worldwide, shutting down ports, factories and offices,and WannaCry encrypted data and demanded ransom payment. Both of these attacks are proof that global ransomware is no laughing matter.
The impact of these attacks was frightening, to say the least. WannaCry forced hospitals across the United Kingdom to divert emergency patients. Countless internet connected medical and monitoring devices around the globe were affected and were useless when their system files were locked. Adding insult to injury, Petya affected more than 60 % of the systems in the Ukraine.
Both of these attacks make it clear that ransomware is a real threat. There is an industry out there that is making money off of this and the criminals behind it are discovering bigger and better ways to gain financially from this. Research is indicating that ransomware is growing at a faster rate than malware.
How can you protect yourself from these types of attacks?
Patch and Updating.
A patch is a software update that is installed into an existing software program. It can fix a software bug, install new drives, address new security issues and offer upgrades to the software. An example of this is Patch Tuesday which is the unofficial term used to refer to the day that Microsoft releases security patches and other necessary updates to their operating systems and other software.
Update older systems and the ‘forgotten’ equipment.
A network running an older Operating System (OS) is a vulnerability that is often overlooked. The longer that a system goes without updates, the more of a risk it becomes. We tend to ignore these updates when things are running smoothly because we think they are time-consuming and a nuisance. That old laptop hidden away in the storage room that nobody uses until their’s is being worked on is often forgotten and can be a weak link in your network.
Educate your employees.
This point cannot be stressed enough. The truth of the matter is over 55% of all cyber attacks come from within an organization. Often times this can be avoided by having your employees change their passwords on a regular basis, ensuring that sensitive data is only shared with those that need to have it, and teaching employees what a malicious email may look like.
Stop thinking your business is too small to be attacked
Small and medium sized business believe that these attacks only happen to the big guys and cybercriminals view them as easy prey because of this thinking. When companies falsely believe they are too small to be targeted, they tend to spend less on security. Think of it this way, whether you drive an expensive car or an older model, you are going to lock the doors to deter a criminal from breaking into it. You need that vehicle, so you protect it. The same thinking should be applied to your network.
The bottom line is that you need your system to be up and running in order to carry on with business. Ransomware is growing in the volume of attacks and can destroy your business. There are methods to protecting yourself, and we strongly encourage you to investigate all the ways to keep yourself from becoming a statistic.
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