According to the US Department of Homeland Security, the number one way to protect yourself from costly ransomware attacks is by implementing and maintaining a strong backup and disaster recovery solution.
But what is ransomware and why should you care?
Ransomware viruses penetrate network defenses and encrypt access to your data – effectively holding your valuable information hostage until a “ransom” is paid for its release. Being a victim of ransomware can be devastating; any individual or organization, regardless of size or industry is a potential target, and ransom demands typically range from a few hundred up to tens of millions of dollars. In addition to the ransom you pay to get your data back, imagine how much being “down” would cost your organization.
How does ransomware get into your system?
Ransomware typically enters your system through human error by convincing a victim to click a malicious link or visit an infected website. These network penetrations usually originate through sophisticated social engineering exploits known as phishing campaigns. In this case, the extortionists attempt to convince users to click links or open an infected email. Imagine that you’re an accountant or the owner of a small business and see a pop-up message that states that your computer has been affected, click here to resolve the issue”. Wanting to fix the issue, many users click on the link. While your computer was not infected with a virus before, by clicking the link, you downloaded the ransomware onto your computer which lies dormant until you reboot your machine. After the reboot, all of your files are now infected; and you are prompted to pay a ransom to get your data back. Without your data, your business can no longer operate.
Keep in mind, ransomware extortionists are extremely good at manipulating users by using a range of tools to create seemingly authentic, realistic and plausible “click here” urgent messages. Even those with a trained eye, armed with general skepticism, have been fooled. High-performing network security tools are also often unable to identify ransomware in time to prevent an infection so the question shifts from “how do I avoid ransomware” to a more “how do I protect myself if I am infected with ransomware?"
The most important thing any organization can do to prevent ransomware, according to the US Department of Homeland Security, is to set up a strong backup and disaster recovery plan that meets the needs of organization. There are dozens of Disaster Recovery and Backup solutions available so a thorough understanding of your business and network is critical in designing and implementing an effective plan. You can read more about our Security practices here.
Interested in a free disaster recovery and backup plan? Contact TBNG Consulting to set up an appointment.