Ransomware is rapidly becoming the most pervasive cyber threat in the world today. It’s affected large companies like Arizona Beverages and FedEx to government institutions like police departments and schools across the US.
Although many of these organizations are large is size and scope, you don’t have to be a multinational bank or the National Health Service to become a victim of ransomware and other types of malware. As a matter of fact, small and medium-sized businesses are just as likely, if not more, to be attacked by ransomware because in many cases they’re more vulnerable and less likely to recover.
What is ransomware? Ransomware is a computer program or virus that encrypts and freezes your data files unless you pay the perpetrator a fee. These are some things to consider when navigating a business in today’s world. There are the dangers everyone faces.
1.You’re never too small to get hacked
Ransomware finds its way into your system by exploiting flaws in your security perimeter, but, more likely, it gets downloaded by an unsuspecting user through an ostensibly harmless email or file. It can infect not only the machine that opened the corrupted file, but all the programs it shares throughout the network, spreading like a dangerous contagion, encrypting all the files on that network. If the initially infected machine has access to back-up files, it’ll encrypt them as well.
It’s easy to assume big businesses would be the main targets of something like this, but cyber criminals go after small, lower risk payments instead of one large payment. Smaller attacks are likelier to keep them under the radar. It’s also important to know that one cybercriminal alone can target thousands of businesses with little to no difficulty. They use social engineering to manufacture a huge email list and infect countless links and files before sending them off to as many people as possible. All it would take is one staff member or employee in the office to click on a single link. Some businesses may avoid this kind of attack but it’s a numbers game. All it takes is patience and eventually a cyber-hacker will get what they want.
2. Paying Won’t be Easy
So what if you pay the ransom? That’s always an option. You can pay, get your files back and move on. Well, not exactly.
Hackers and cybercriminals don’t use traditional bank accounts when conducting “business”. They’ll want to be paid in Bitcoin to an anonymous account on the Dark Web. It’s untraceable and easy to manage for even the most novice of hackers. Adding insult to injury, you’ll have to spend time you may not have trying to get your hands on crypto currency you need to make payments to someone that’s extorting you. Even if you go through this strenuous process and pay the hacker their fee, it’s not a guarantee you’ll get your data back.
3. Hacking is a reality that cannot be avoided
Most businesses and even government institutions haven’t taken cyber security as seriously as they should. 43% of all cyber-attacks are aimed at small businesses, according to cyber defense magazine. Small businesses have minimal security and are therefore easier to breach.
In South Florida, it’s reasonable to assume you’ll experience a hurricane at some point. The environment in which you’re in often produces conditions favorable to those types of storms. In today’s world, with ever increasing reliance on technology and computer software in almost every industry, there will always be those looking to exploit vulnerability for profit. If you want to mitigate risks and continue to operate and grow your business, you’ll need to assume that getting hacked is inevitable. Prepare for the worst and you’ll have nothing to fear.
A Nerds Support partner, for example, has all of their files backed-up daily and monitored by our team of experienced engineers and IT professionals at all times. If there’s a questionable email, we can analyze it to ensure it’s safe and legitimate. Nerds Support has can help its partners establish a continuity plan in the case of an attack and snuff out potential risks before they become large vulnerabilities in your system.
A cloud based-infrastructure offers a level of security that is cost efficient and practical for any business. Contact us Today to Start Securing Your Business!
Cyber-attacks are becoming ever more frequent, affecting local business, schools and even cities.
Most recently, it was reported that Riviera Beach had to pay 65 bitcoins, which is the equivalent of $600,000, to hackers after a government employee clicked on a malicious email link three weeks ago.
This was a classic case of ransomware. A hacker uses social engineering to attack unsuspecting people to click on a link or an email attachment. Once they click, malicious software encrypts files, making them inaccessible until the victim pays to get it encrypted, hence the name ransomware. Ransomware, like in the case of Riviera Beach, is delivered through email via links, downloading attachments and in some cases social media messaging. Many Nerds Support partners who receive suspicious emails, send them to our IT and Software experts to analyze and vet to determine whether the email is safe to open or not. This is just one way to prevent a situation like the one in Riviera Beach.
According to a report by The Council of Economic Advisers, malicious cyber activity cost the US economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016 and since then, cyber-attacks have become far more common. Juniper Research, a cyber-security firm, projected cybercriminals will steal an estimated 33 billion records by 2023. Juniper expects more than half of all data breaches globally to occur in the US by 2023 as well.
Having Backups are Key!
The most important thing businesses can do is back-up their data regularly and consistently. Here at Nerds Support, we provide our partners with daily automated back-ups, for example, and filter out potential malicious websites and emails. Also having cyber security measures in place to mitigate the risks is a big step. Training staff in yearly, quarterly, or semi annual trainings is an effective strategy. Should your business suffer a ransomware attack, at the very least you’ll be able to access your important information, mitigating the impact of the attack. As an organization, you can also employ anti-ransomware software to prevent ransomware from successfully launching. Nerds Support has IT engineers along with sophisticated security software, monitoring suspicious activity 24-7 and alert our partners of any potential threats including strange files, email links, or attachments.
The DOJ reported an average of 4,000 ransomware attacks occurred per day in 2016 with over a billion dollars in ransoms paid. These numbers have increased since. A Beazley Breach Response study revealed, about 70 percent of ransomware attacks in 2018 targeted small businesses with an average ransom demand of over $100,000, the highest demand topping at $8.5 million.
Ransomware is becoming increasingly lucrative because it offers cyber-criminals a low-risk, high reward method for monetizing malware. The malicious software typically isn’t very complicated because most businesses are underprepared to deal with ransomware anyway, which appeals to even the most amateur cybercriminal. In March, Albany New York, the state capital, admitted being hit with ransomware on a Saturday. There are minimal to no IT staff on Saturday’s. Neither the private nor public sectors are adequately prepared to handle even the most primitive malware attack precisely because IT security has traditionally been a minimal concern, only now are we seeing the damaging consequences of underappreciating it.
Nerds Support is working hard to protect medium and small businesses from experiencing any cyber breach, including ransomware with its dedicated team of engineers and IT professionals.
Contact us today at 305-551-2009 and hacker proof your firm!
Cyber attacks, ransomware and new disruptive technologies are making it difficult for small and medium size businesses to protect their information.
According to a Ponemon Institute study conducted in 2017, only 21% of companies rated their ability to mitigate cyber risks, vulnerabilities and attacks as highly effective. Businesses have to adjust to the realities of an ever more expanding digital landscape. If a company’s information is accessed through a cyber-security breach, it could costs millions of dollars.
The study reported the global average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. A number that would bankrupt many small and medium sized businesses. If a business or company processes online payments, uses cloud systems or stores company information and customer data it’s best to invest in cyber insurance.
Cyber insurance is designed to help organizations and businesses lessen the risk of exposure to cyber security breaches. The policies cover a variety of liability and property losses that result from a business engaging in various electronic activities, such as selling on the Internet or collecting data within its internal electronic network. If breached, companies may have to reimburse other companies for expenses relating to the data breach. This includes things like legal counsel, a digital forensics team and notification costs.
It isn’t just large companies and corporations that are victims to hacking and phishing, small businesses are frequently targeted also. The Ponemon Institute study also reported that 61% of small businesses experienced a cyber attack last year.
And data breaches are only getting bigger.
The average size of breaches, based on the companies surveyed in the study, increased 2.2% every year on average and according to U.S Capital, 60% of small businesses go out of business within six months of an attack. Cyber insurance sometimes referred as cyber liability insurance has become essential in managing risk and mitigating damages caused by cyber attacks.
While looking into cyber insurance, it is important that any business understand how much coverage they need and that they’re taking actions to prevent breaches from happening all together. If you’re interested in learning more about cyber insurance coverage, plans, and pricing you can visit Fit Small Business to compare plans and get quotes
Encrypting your information, training staff members on how to identify phishing attempts and installing anit-virus software can dramatically improve a company’s ability to prevent a breach. A cyber insurance provider will also be looking for these as indicators to determine whether a business qualifies for coverage.
USA today reported on a breach that had occurred in 2016 to five sheriff and police departments in Maine. They were all victims of ransomeware attacks. One of the Sheriffs in Lincoln County didn’t want to pay the ransom but gave in after two days because of the huge risk losing their data would pose. Not every business needs millions of dollars of coverage, however, and for those who don’t usually access sensitive data, the cost can outweigh the risks.
Cyber Liability insurance can be tailored to meet the specific needs of a company and offers a variety of benefits that include: Data Breach Coverage, Business Interruption Loss Reimbursement, Forensic Support, Legal support and more. By having a trusted IT Partner, you can both develop a business continuity plan that can handle all disasters. And by having a disaster plan and a data protection plan you can rest easy knowing your information is safe.
When choosing a Managed IT Service Provider be sure to ask if they have cyber insurance and a disaster plan in place that meets your specific needs.
With Nerds Support, our clients have never been hacked, so you can have peace of mind knowing that your information is safe from hackers. We do the worrying for you so you can focus on growing your business and team. Be a happy client knowing your information is safely stored.
Contact us today for your FREE IT Cyber Audit!
Find out if your company is next for hackers: 305-551-2009
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