Ransomware attacks have occurred nearly 4,000 times each day since January 2016.

What exactly is Ransomware?

This word is often thrown around, especially more recently with the WannaCry Ransomware that spread to over 150 countries and 10,000 organizations this past May, infamously debilitating parts of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.

First introduced in 2005, Ransomware is a type of malware intended to damage or take over your computer. It takes over your keyboard and locks your screen.

Control is relinquished only if you pay the ransom, usually in the form of online currencies such as Bitcoin, which are more difficult to trace. For example, WannaCry locked thousands of screens and demanded the equivalent of $300 from each of the affected users.

Why should you worry about Ransomware as a small business owner?

You might think only high-profile or larger companies are attacked. Yet small businesses are especially vulnerable as it costs a lot of money to buy the products that large corporations use to protect their systems.

Additionally, Ransomware attacks have increased by over 500% in some states, due to its ability to go undetected.

To get into your system, the hacker needs your computer to download their software, which is usually done through an accidental click or download, or when you visit a compromised website.

Once the Ransomware has been downloaded, the developer of the Ransomware will encrypt all of your data with a key that only they know — they leave your computer with just two files: one is the instructions on how to unlock your computer, and the other is the Ransomware program.

What is there to be done?

You can take preventative measures such as:

  1. Application Whitelisting — this means that only certain applications are allowed to run on your system, which helps prevent malicious software from running on your computer.
  2. Patching Apps & Operating Systems — these are small pieces of software designed to help repairs holes in the security of your system. The most recent WannaCry attack happened because there was a weakness in the Windows Operating System.
  3. Minimize Administrative Privileges– Hackers want to target accounts with administrative privileges, as these accounts have a lot of controls and authorizations in your system. By limiting accounts with access to these privileges, you limit how quickly Ransomware can spread in your system. Additionally, you can limit administrative accounts from having access to the internet, so malware cannot even be downloaded in the first place.

Software solutions can also serve as safety nets prior to any malware infecting your system in the first place.

If you get infected with malware, your best option is to restore your files from a backup locationCarbonite provides your small business with a powerful and reliable cloud and hybrid back-up at an affordable price, which makes it a perfect option for protecting your data and files.

Endpoint solutions, which protect the computers and mobile devices that access your system AKA “the endpoints” are another good software solution to look into as a preventative measure.

Webroot is a good option as an endpoint solution as it is hassle-free, it does fast-scanning for malware and viruses, and does not burden your endpoint devices by making them run slower.

You are strongly advised not to pay the ransom because you still are not assured full control of your encrypted files as the hacker can leave the malware installed on your computer and continue preying upon your data.

Paying the ransom also just gives the hackers more funding to continue compromising files for other people and businesses in the future.

Need help finding a cybersecurity solution that fits your needs? CUE is here to help: click here to browse our market for your small business.