Most people grew up hearing scary stories of things that went bump in the night, or telling ghost stories around the campfire, always believing that they were purely fables. Unfortunately, a very real invisible threat is lurking on the internet, waiting to attack small to medium sized businesses all across the country. It’s estimated that in 2016-2017 Canadian small to medium size businesses paid out over 5.7 million dollars to ransomware attackers.
The common thinking is “it won’t happen to me - no one would want my information”. The only problem with that mind set is that, it can in fact happen to you. The hackers aren’t necessarily after your information but your money. While having your data held for ransom seems like something straight out of a movie, it’s a very real problem facing businesses all over the world. Hackers can gain access to your servers and encrypt your important information promising that after the money is delivered the data will be released.
What is Ransomware and how bad is it?
Ransomware is cleverly named due to the fact that it is a type of software that is designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money, or ransom, is paid out. The encryption placed on your computer is almost impossible to break without the hacker undoing what they’ve done. Sadly, under 15% of those who end up paying the ransom, never recover their data. For Small businesses not only does this set you back immediately financially but it can end up setting you back even more for downtime and revenue lost.
How do hackers access your servers?
There are a number of ways hackers can gain access to your servers. One of the most common ways are phishing emails. Have you ever received and email from a far off land promising you riches in exchange for only a couple of small wire transfers? These are dangerous, not only are you sending away your hard earned money, but you are also putting your computer and all of it’s stored data at risk. Hackers add infected attachments or links to these emails to try and lure you in.
There is also a more sophisticated spear phishing tactic that involves a little research from the hacker. They’ll include things that are relevant to their victims such as business connections and co-workers to entice them to believe the email is from a legitimate source.
How can you protect yourself and your business:
- Keep all your computers up to date on all software updates
- Make sure your employees know not to open suspicious emails or links sent to them
- Ensure you have a good antivirus program in place
- Ensure your employees are updating and strengthen their passwords frequently.
How can we help you protect your assets?
We can assist you in backing up your data. Our data backup service can give your business the ability to implement a protection strategy that includes offsite storage of a backup of your data without requiring physical transportation of the data from your location to another remote storage location. With this service, you define your backup schedule, and the software will encrypt and send the data to our secure data centre instantly, giving you easy offsite data protection.
We are happy to answer any questions you have in regards to ransomware or how we can protect your business from an attack.