If You Haven’t Heard of Ransomware, You’re in Trouble

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A stressful man alone in a room

As more and more people migrate to working remotely, the number of cyberattacks has increased exponentially. One of the biggest cybersecurity issues that most businesses are facing today is ransomware. In fact, the number of ransomware attacks increased by 150% in 2020, and they’re growing much faster in 2021. 

What’s more, the ransomware paid out by victims rose to over 300% in the year 2020. Therefore, if you’re not prepared for an attack, your business could become the next ransomware victim.

Ransomware Definition

Ransomware is the biggest cybersecurity issue on the internet today. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files in computers and networks. Because of the nature of the attack, victims can do very little after an attack. They can choose to pay the ransom or restore files from backups. In some cases, businesses have to start from scratch, especially if the backups have been infected.

How Does Ransomware Work?

There are different ways ransomware malware can enter your network. The most common way is through phishing, whereby the victim opens a spam email and downloads a corrupt attachment. Once downloaded, the malicious software attacks your system. Ransomware can also access your PC through downloads of software from the web, clicking on fake ads, and social engineering.

The malware can enter your network through an executable file in the form of a zip folder or disguised as a viable attachment. Once downloaded, the malware encrypts your data and adds an extension to your documents, making them inaccessible. Most of these complex malware work without any human supervision and then display a ransom amount that you should pay for your files to be decrypted.   

Who is at Risk of Ransomware Attacks?

Today, anyone can be a target of a ransomware attack. While most small business owners believe they are too small to be targeted, statistics show a different trend. According to ABC News, small businesses comprise about one-half to three-quarters of all ransomware attacks. Small and medium businesses are popular targets because they often have poor cybersecurity.

Ways to Prevent Ransomware Attacks

  • Avoid clicking unsafe links: Never click on links in messages that are labeled spam or links on unknown websites. Clicking on these links could initiate an automatic download of malware.
  • Don’t connect unknown USB sticks to your PC: If you see a USB stick or an external storage device that doesn’t belong to you, avoid the temptation to use it. A cybercriminal may have stored a corrupt file in it and planted it in a public place for unknowing people to use.
  • Use premium virtual private networks (VPNs) when using public Wi-Fi: When you connect to public networks, your PC is vulnerable to ransomware attacks. To always protect yourself, use a reliable VPN or avoid public networks altogether.

Protect Your Business Against Ransomware

Ransomware attacks often target businesses more than individuals. Therefore, as a business owner, you should take all necessary precautions by consulting an IT company in Greenville to conduct a network and infrastructure audit and also configure your systems for growth.