According the the FBI, incidents of ransomware have been on the rise since 2015, and it seems that virtually all sizes and types of businesses are susceptible to this type of cybersecurity threat. Despite this incredibly large looming danger to the integrity and privacy of not just an individual, but a company’s data, 43 percent of users still don’t know what exactly ransomware is. Take a few minutes to educate yourself on business and ransomware, so you can protect your company’s data.
What is Ransomware?
Simply put, ransomware works like a digital version of a real-life ransom situation. A cybercriminal either takes or infects a computer through software and demands a ransom in order to release data back to you. It is online extortion, and can be incredibly difficult to mitigate. Ransomware attackers target anyone and everyone they can, from individuals to small businesses to entire towns.
Should I Pay?
While it is your decision, the FBI recommends not paying the ransom. FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director James Trainor said, “Paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee an organization that it will get its data back—we’ve seen cases where organizations never got a decryption key after having paid the ransom. Paying a ransom not only emboldens current cybercriminals to target more organizations, it also offers an incentive for other criminals to get involved in this type of illegal activity. And finally, by paying a ransom, an organization might inadvertently be funding other illicit activity associated with criminals.”
How Can I Avoid This?
The first and easiest step is hopefully one your company has already taken: backup your data. If your IT department has a recent backup of your company data when ransomware infects your system, the cybercriminal won’t be able to leverage your data against you. It is important, however, to secure your data by backing it up to a remote computer or server. Additionally, you should complete system updates and patches, as well as create a plan for your staff in the event of either one attack or a whole system of attacks. Here are some additional easy notes to share with your staff:
- Don’t click links from suspicious email accounts
- Do not enable macros when asked
- Set up automatic updates on malware and antivirus programs