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Ransomware threats are surging – here’s how to protect your business

Imagine waking up one morning powering up your computer only to discover that all your crucial files – ranging from customer data to records – are securely locked.

Next thing you know a frightening message appears, demanding a ransom payment in order to unlock them.

That’s essentially what ransomware is about. It’s a form of software that seizes control of your data and demands payment for its release.

Typically it all begins with a looking email or link. You might receive an email that looks legitimate prompting you to click on a link or open an attachment.

This is referred to as a phishing email, where the sender appears genuine but is not. Once you click on it malicious software gets silently installed on your system. Subsequently cybercriminals swiftly get down to business.

They start encrypting your files so they become inaccessible. Then comes the dreaded ransom demand asking for payment in exchange for a decryption key to unlock your files. However paying the ransom is risky as theres no assurance that you’ll retrieve your data; moreover it simply emboldens attackers to target victims.

The year 2023 witnessed a surge, in ransomware attacks after experiencing a two year decline. A recent report revealed a rise in ransomware incidents setting a record that hadn’t been broken in six years.

One contributing factor to this surge is the emergence of Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) where cybercriminals can essentially “rent” tools simplifying the process of launching attacks.

Consequently more businesses are discovering themselves exposed on data leak platforms with a 75% increase in victims observed between 2022 and 2023.

Ouch.. The situation worsens as attackers become more sophisticated. They are creating versions of existing ransomware collaborating on resources and utilising legitimate tools for malicious activities.

Moreover, they are acting swiftly by unleashing ransomware within 48 hours of infiltrating a network. They often strike during working hours to minimise detection catching victims off guard – maybe even while you’re snug, in your bed.

If your business falls prey to an assault the repercussions can be severe. You could endure financial setbacks not only from paying the ransom but also from downtime expenses and recovery efforts.

There’s also the danger of losing data if you’re unable to decrypt your files.

Your reputation could suffer if customers discover that their information has been compromised. Moreover your business operations could be significantly disrupted, affecting your ability to serve your clients effectively.

So the key question is; How can you safeguard your business from this increasing threat?

  • Start by educating your team on how to identify phishing emails and avoid links and attachments.
  • Regularly back up your important data and store these backups securely offline.
  • Keep your software and systems updated with the security patches and invest in robust security tools.
  • It’s crucial to restrict access to your data. Only provide employees with access to the information for their roles.
  • Monitor your network for any unusual activity and have a response plan in place to address incidents promptly.

If you do fall victim to an attack stay calm. Collaborate with cybersecurity professionals (such, as us) to resolve the situation.

Remember it’s advisable not to pay the ransom as it only encourages activities.

My team and I help businesses take proactive action to protect their data. If we can help you, get in touch.