In the analog world of the past, a business’s resources were considered safe as long as the doors were locked. Though in today’s digital world, criminals have the opportunity to break into a business without ever leaving their homes. Criminals also have the ability to do more than steal from a business — they can make it impossible for their victims to get any work done. This is due to the rise of a particularly insidious form of malware known as ransomware. Through a ransomware attack, cybercriminals can seize control of a business’s IT infrastructure and hold it for ransom. Until a company pays the ransom, it may not be able to access any of the records or applications it needs to conduct business. In the meantime, the hacker has free rein to do with the company’s sensitive information whatever he or she sees fit. A single ransomware attack can spell disaster for any business, which is why it’s important for IT professionals and small business owners to understand the threat of ransomware and how to protect themselves from it.
For businesses to better prevent ransomware from impacting them, it’s crucial that they educate their employees. Employees who unwittingly open attachments or download files from hackers trigger most ransomware attacks. Thus, it’s imperative for employers to train their employees regularly about the risks and to be wary of any emails they receive.
IT professionals also have to be sure that their security is completely up to date at all times, patching regularly and having an action plan in place for minimizing the damage caused by a potential ransomware attack. It’s essential to make sure that the company’s network is segmented so that firewalls can prevent ransomware from spreading throughout the network and keep the threat contained to one area. Finally, systems need to be backed up constantly. Also, the back-ups should be kept off the network, so the system can be restored quickly with minimal data loss.
Protecting your company’s assets from thieves is more complicated than simply locking the doors in today’s increasingly digital world. Ransomware is one of the most destructive and dangerous threats facing businesses today. Though with smart preparation and readiness, your business can protect itself from that threat.
Presented by Halock Security Labs
Author bio: Chris Cronin is a partner, principal consultant and ISO 27001 auditor for HALOCK Security Labs, a leading information security firm located in Chicago. Cronin has more than 15 years of experience helping organizations with policy design, security controls, audit, risk assessment and information security management systems within a cohesive risk management process. He is a frequent speaker and presenter at information security conferences and events.