A ransomware attack is a very serious thing. Using a range of tricks and scams, cybercriminals break into your network. For a little while they stay hidden, working away in the background to change your security systems and prevent you from kicking them out again. Once they’re safely established, they encrypt your data and lock it away so you can’t access it. They might also threaten to publish sensitive information for the world to see.
The next step is to demand a large ransom fee. Front up the money and they’ll release your data and leave you alone … or will they?
In most cases, the answer is no. A recent report by cybersecurity specialist Sophos showed us that only 8% of those who pay off these hackers actually get their data back in return. You might easily find yourself broke and out of business, having lost your clients’ data and their trust as well.
It should! Ransomware is one of the most virulent threats out there. And COVID-19 has made the situation even worse. Ransomware attacks are over 500% more prevalent compared to the start of the pandemic, and the ransoms involved are bigger, too. Cybercriminals are clever opportunists – they know exactly how to take advantage of the chaos created by a global crisis.
Since the idea of ransomware is to extort large sums of money, you might be tempted to think that small businesses are safe from this kind of threat. But the opposite is true. Cybercriminals love to attack small businesses because they are typically less protected – and less vigilant – than a big global corporation. It’s much easier to access their data in the first place, and there’s also a greater chance that the people in charge can be intimidated into paying up.
A constant threat
Only the biggest and most spectacular cyberattacks draw public attention, but successful ransomware attacks are far more common than you might think. Experts estimate that a business is infected with ransomware every 11 seconds. In view of these numbers, it’s not a question of whether your business will be attacked, but when. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that it is possible to protect your business. We’ve covered this topic in more detail in a previous post. But the upshot is that a combination of training, good practice and a few accessible security tools – such as strong encryption, a password manager and a virtual private network – will make it far, far harder for cybercriminals to attack.
When it comes to ransomware, prevention is everything. It’s much easier to keep the hackers out than to remove them once they’ve breached your systems. It’s also important to make sure that every member of your team is aware of the threat and following the most recent best practices.
At Perigon One, we know how to keep small businesses safe. If you would like to explore what we can do for you, just drop us a line or schedule a free fifteen-minute consultation to discuss your needs.