You may have seen in the news that a recent rise in gas prices has been directly linked to cybercrime.
Colonial Pipeline announced that it had to shut down 5,500 miles of pipeline due to a ransomware attack. As this pipeline carries almost half of the East Coast’s fuel supplies, this attack is far reaching in its impact.
It is currently unknown how cybercriminals accessed Colonial’s network. However, this type of attack is not new. In fact, it’s pretty similar to phishing attacks. The goal of a ransomware attack is to extract valuable information for monetary gain.
Ransomware attacks can be embarrassing to businesses. Additionally, victims of ransomware attacks are also being hit financially. With cybercrime on the rise, it’s more important than ever to have IT security. Without it, you are risking your business, your identity, your finances, and those of your employees.
How To Protect Your Business & Your Employees From Ransomware
It’s important to note that ransomware comes in many forms. A common method is implementing a computer code that blocks a company’s access to their own network. Then the hackers demand a ransom in exchange for restoring access.
But as we’ve seen in the past, complying with extortion rarely works out. The hackers usually demand unregulated cryptocurrency. After sending the funds, there’s no way of knowing whether they will hold up their end of the deal. And because cryptocurrencies are not regulated, there is also no way of tracking them through the exchange.
So how do you prevent a ransomware attack?
And if you fall victim, how do you navigate the aftermath?
Read on to find out.
1. Enable End-To-End Encryption
Cybercriminals are coming out with creative new methods every day. To protect your business, consider adding an additional layer of security.
End-to-end encryption secures your line of communication by blocking access to third-party users. To do this, data is first encrypted then converted into a secret code. All of your information is hidden by encryption algorithms. These algorithms encode and decode data at each end.
Consider when you’re sending sensitive information or simply chatting. No one wants some hacker lurking through their communications.
Furthermore, end-to-end encryption is capable of stifling a hacker in their tracks. If you do receive a ransomware demand, they won’t get far. You’ll know that all they have is a jumble of code. And only you and who you’ve authorized on the other end hold the key to decode.
Protect your finances, your identity, your business, and employees by enabling end-to-end encryption.
2. Use Complex Passwords For Every Site And Change Them Often
If you’ve read our blogs before, you probably know that we take password protocols seriously.
That’s because at Brooks IT Services, our clients’ network security is very important to us. We want to help businesses succeed and not have to deal with any type of hack.
Managing passwords is one of the simplest and effective ways to protect your data. In addition to using complex passwords, they should also be different for every login. It may be tempting to reuse passwords. But doing so puts you and your business at serious risk. Furthermore, passwords should be changed regularly. If that password is compromised, your system is only at risk until that password changes.
There are a few things to keep in mind to make sure passwords are complex. Passwords should be at least 8 characters long. Additionally, they should contain both upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Also, it is crucial to never include any type of personal information. This could be birthdays, addresses, pet names, etc. If there is any record of this information online, assume that hackers already have it in their pocket.
Sticking to stringent password protocols eliminates several ransomware attacks. Learn more in our previous blog 5 Tips To Creating A Secure Password.
3. Update Your Software
You work hard to make your business successful. The last thing you want is a cybercriminal financially benefiting from your efforts.
Installing antivirus software, antispyware software, and firewalls is a great step. But if you are not regularly updating the software, then they can’t do their job. Antivirus software, for example, scans your computer for viruses. New viruses are going out every day. And the software companies are constantly updating their defenses. The only way for you to stay protected from the new viruses is to update your antivirus software.
The same goes for your malware, antispyware, and firewalls. By limiting your vulnerabilities, you lessen the threat of falling victim to ransomware. Brooks IT Services provides clients with BITSCare. A total care and management solution for your IT infrastructure.
Wondering how secure your systems are? Contact Brooks IT Services today to learn more about BITSCare.
4. Backup Your Data
In May 2017, an aptly named WannaCry ransomware attack took the world by storm.
Through a since-patched weak spot in Microsoft Windows, hackers obtained files and held them hostage. Had users updated their software, they would not have been put in the situation. But of those who put it off, many fell victim and probably really did want to cry.
The Shadow Brokers are the hackers behind WannaCry. They demanded an amount of Bitcoin in exchange for their stolen data. But with any hackers, you cannot trust them!
There is no way of knowing whether they will return the data. Nor is there a way of knowing if they’ll actually delete the data on their end. In this situation, the hackers doubled their financial demands. Even worse, their faulty programming had no way of knowing who was sending money for what data.
To avoid being a victim of a ransomware attack, it’s important to make sure your data is backed up. Users of Brooks IT Services’ BITSCloud can rest easy knowing their data is backed up and secure. If a ransomware attack does occur, you will not lose access to your files.
Ready to empower your business with confidence in IT security? Reach out to Brooks IT Services and learn how BITSCloud can save you money and prevent cry-worthy headaches.
5. Educate Yourself & Employees About Viruses And Phishing Attacks
Ransomware attacks come in various ways. So it’s important to understand the scams and their risks.
The first step is to refrain from opening suspicious emails. Hackers are crafty and tend to impersonate a person or organization that you trust. Furthermore, no reputable company will be requesting sensitive data through an unsolicited mass email.
If you receive an email that looks like it’s from your bank. Do not click any links. Instead, open the website on a separate browser as you would normally do. Then, contact customer service and confirm whether they need something from you.
In a situation like this, the email is the phishing attempt. They are phishing for you to trust they are someone you know. The embedded links could contain viruses. Those viruses could wipe all data from your system. The hackers could then demand a ransom in return for your data. All of the sudden, a couple of wrong clicks can lead you to be the next victim of a ransomware attack.
Other standard protocols include avoiding insecure WiFi servers, not sharing devices, and covering your webcam.
Ready To Protect Yourself & Your Employees From Ransomware Attacks?
Your best bet is to connect with Brooks IT Services to discuss your current vulnerabilities. Our IT experts will do a comprehensive assessment of your network and all devices.
It’s incredible how many vulnerabilities present access to hackers. Don’t go another day crossing your fingers that you won’t be the next victim. With Brooks IT Services, you’ll position yourself to succeed and put the days of worrying about attacks to bed. Contact Brooks IT Services to enhance your IT security and your confidence.