Educate Your Employees: What Ransomware is and Why You Should Care About the Risks

what is ransomware

Do you have a ransomware protection process in place? If not, then you should. On average, businesses can lose $2,500 from an attack, and some lose as much as millions.

What if you have a ransomware protection process in place, are you safe? You should ask yourself if your process includes employee education. If not, then it should.

Employee negligence is the number one cause of cybersecurity breaches, including ransomware. They can open attachments, malicious websites, and other hosts that can cause hackers to steal your business data.

What can you do as an employer? You can educate your employees on ransomware and develop a cybersecurity training protocol. For now, it’s important to understand ransomware prevention.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is an attack caused by hackers. They usually either block system access and/or steal your data. Then, they won’t retrieve the data or computer access until you pay a sum of money.

Every attacker has a different strategy, but most ransomware is caused by either phishing or spam emails. Drive-by downloads and malicious websites can also help a hacker gain access to your data.

Unfortunately, hackers are becoming more skilled and more secretive. However, it’s still necessary to have a ransomware protection and training policy set in place, especially for your employees.

Ransomware Attacks

The ransomware virus needs human help to enter your system. They can trick people in a variety of ways. Here are a few common examples.


Phishing is the sending of fraudulent emails.

Phishing encompasses multiple strategies; they’re used in ransomware in the form of a malicious attachment or URL.

Phishing links can also disguise themselves as reputable websites, enticing the user to include sensitive information, and is usually a tool used in identity theft.

In terms of ransomware, some phishing emails are sent to multiple people within an organization. This makes the email more suspicious and easier to catch.

However, hackers are getting more intelligent, and will target an individual employee. Your staff member could download the virus, allowing the hacker access to your system.

They’re also often disguised as credible, helping disguise the malicious identity.


This method uses voicemail instead of email. The voicemail tells the recipient to call a phone number.

The hacker usually disguises themselves as another brand, or anyone else, to appear legitimate.

If the employee calls the phone number, the hacker encourages the employee to download the ransomware virus on the business computer.


SMSishing sends a text message to an employee, directing them to a malicious website.

These text messages usually pose as another organization, or even a client or a colleague of the business.

Some cybercriminals contact every employee of the business, while some are smarter and contact one employee to make themselves discreet.

Instant Messaging

Have you ever received a Facebook message (or a message from a similar platform) from a mutual friend that seemed a little off?

A common example is the sender asking, “Is this you?” They will include a legitimate-looking URL (such as a YouTube link).

If you click the link, a virus can infect your computer. This is especially important if your employee is using Facebook or another messenger on your company computers.


This attack occurs when an employee accesses a malicious website. A hacker doesn’t have to send the employee the link; they may stumble upon the website themselves and think it’s legitimate.


Maladvertising is a malicious advertisement. The employee can click on a spam advertisement, causing the virus to download and infect your computer or internet.

Network Propagation

Let’s say an employee came across the ransomware virus and it infected their computer.

Can the virus spread to other computers in your organization? Yes! This is called network propagation. The virus can spread to other computers via your server and may even infect your cloud system.

How to Train Your Employees on Ransomware Prevention

You might know the dangers of ransomware, but that doesn’t mean your employees are as knowledgeable. The best course of action is to seek a cybersecurity training company that can implement effective employee training.

However, there are actions you can take regularly to ensure your employees are well-educated on the dangers of ransomware.

First, make it a point to send out the latest ransomware news to your staff. This can include companies that were hit with a major attack, a new cybersecurity attack method, or other relevant information.

From here, train employees regularly on the previously mentioned cybersecurity attacks. Inform them to never open email attachments unless they ask their supervisors.

If they receive a suspicious message or email, train them to ask the rest of their staff if they received the same message. If not, inform your staff that these emails should be handled by executives.

Other Ways to Protect Your Company

Every company should have an employee cybersecurity training strategy, but there are additional ways to protect your organization from an attack.

First, find the best anti-malware and antivirus software you can and install it on all your computers. It’s also a good idea to add anti-phishing and other spam filtering technology to your business email accounts.

Set up an online system that blocks access to certain websites. This helps prevent a drive-by infection.

Other methods to help protect your business include updating your browser and apps and using complex passwords. In case the hackers steal your data, keep it backed up to avoid paying a ransom.

Train Employees to Fight a Ransomware Attack

Cybercriminals are becoming more intelligent and are finding new ways to attack companies. Ransomware prevention is integral, and your first course of action should be to train your employees. The best way to do this is to seek out a professional to train your staff.

We offer both onsite and online cybersecurity training. Our program will teach employees about safe web use, how to handle private business data, and how to ensure customer data is secure, as well as many other cybersecurity topics.

You can view more information here. Contact our sales department to see how we can help.