Business, especially small ones are the primary target of various ransomware attacks. You might ask “But what is ransomware?” And “how does it affect my business?”
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is any piece of malicious software that is inserted into a host computer via an executable file. This is done either through automated bot software written specifically to inject ransomware into a system or by sending a malicious ransomware file to an unsuspecting user. Ransomware, once executed, blocks access to encrypted files on that particular computer (typically documents and data files) and in order to regain access to it, a sum of money has to be paid to the attacker – a “ransom”. However, not all is lost for today’s small businesses; there are measures that can be taken to protect sensitive information. Our experts at Zero Effort Networking, an IT support firm in Sydney, recommend the following measures.
One thing that can be done against ransomeware attacks is making backups of the important data. This can be done by scheduling regular backups and ensuring that a copy of these backups is then stored off-site. The “off-site” backup is then safe from potential ransomware attackers and this backup can be used to restore your encrypted data if other ransomware prevention measures fail.
Benefits of regular backups
Regular back-ups protect the data of your small business from not only viruses and cyber-attacks, but also from personal mishaps. A short circuit could fry your entire computer system while a sudden power surge can result in precious data being corrupted or completely lost. Or a software update could have unintended consequences, or a user could make a mistake. Regular backups allow all of these potential disasters to be resolved.
Installing Anti-Virus (A/V) software
Installing AV software provides a shield to scan applications before they are executed and provided that the AV software recognizes the latest malicious executable file it can prevent the virus from executing and ensure that the unwanted software is safely quarantined or deleted before it can even be executed. This significantly decreases the risk of getting attacked by ransomware and ensures that all the sensitive business data remains protected. Another plus of installing AV software is that the speed and efficiency of your machine is maintained which would otherwise have been diminished overtime as a result of viruses and resource mining software gradually slowing it down.
Cautionary or “safe” usage
Another recommendation is to browse the internet with caution. One of the primary gateways of ransomware and other malicious software is through internet. An unsuspecting user may download an attachment from an unknown source which is actually a virus or he may click on a seemingly safe and legitimate popup which ends up installing ransomware on their computer. It is absolutely indispensable to exercise “safe” usage practices while browsing the Web or opening/responding to emails
E-mail is another method by which malware is able to infect user’s computers, because people open such emails which are doubtful and subsequently take actions that allow malicious executables to infect their computer.
Here are some tips that are useful for you to avoid malware attacks via e-mail
- Do not respond to e-mails that are received from an unknown sender
- Do not click on Web links (e.g. http://some-URL or https://some-URL ) that are in an e-mail from an unknown sender
- Do not open attachments that are in an e-mail from an unknown sender
- Do not respond to unsolicited e-mails that offer you help regarding any technical issue
- Simply delete e-mails which ask you to sign up to a particular website
- You may receive an e-mail like ‘congrats you won a prize’ or something like that, simply delete these e-mails