On average, ransomware attacks cost businesses $13,000. The malware’s demands for rescuing your files are getting higher all the time.
You may think that if you manage to recover from a ransomware attack once, you’ll be safe. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Over half of ransomware’s victims suffer repeat attacks. Right now, you’re probably wondering how you can protect your business from such nefarious attacks. The answer is simple…your employees need more in-depth cybersecurity training.
Ransomware’s methods of attack are hard to predict, but a well-trained employee is far less likely to be infected.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a particularly difficult form of malware. It infects targeted computers and will lock the end-user out of their machine. It will then demand a ransom, usually in Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency.
If you pay, you get access to your computers. If you don’t, the malware could delete your files.
Often, a ransomware attack will also encrypt your files. If this happens, even removing the malware, a difficult task in itself, won’t be enough. Your files will still be encrypted and useless to you.
Ransomware attacks are hard to deal with once they’re in your network. The best way to avoid this experience is by avoiding infection in the first place.
How Does Ransomware Spread?
Ransomware can be spread through many different means, but there are two main infection routes for a ransomware cyber-attack. These are phishing and drive-by-downloading.
What is Phishing?
Phishing emails are emails that look authentic but contain malicious attachments. They could use a real company’s branding, promise great advances for your business, or even simply offer the recipient monetary gain.
They could also target your business specifically, which is a practice known as spear phishing. As this will be customized to your business, this kind of email is even harder to detect.
What is Drive-By-Downloading?
Drive-by-downloading is the name for when you visit a malicious site and malware downloads itself to your PC. This can even occur on legitimate sites if they have been hacked.
Most worryingly, once a ransomware attack has occurred, it can spread across your entire network. This can cripple your business and cost you millions to repair.
Even large organizations are not immune to this. In 2017, the British National Health Service was infected with the Wannacry ransomware virus. The total cost to the organization was a staggering £92 million, or $120 million.
How to Prevent Ransomware Attacks
As ransomware attacks don’t follow one pattern of attack, the best way to prevent them is through rigorous employee training. Ransomware infections almost always result from user error. Reduce the likelihood of this user error, and you reduce the likelihood of infection.
Our on-site security awareness training is here to help. This course gives your employees the skills that they need to prevent ransomware attacks. We will also cover the importance of backups and the best information security practices.
Email Best Practices Training
When you train your employees in email best practices, they are far less likely to fall for phishing emails.
We’ll help your employees recognize phishing and spear-phishing emails. We’ll teach them when they should avoid opening attachments and what to do in the worst-case scenario.
The best way to avoid drive-by-downloading is by avoiding infected sites. While no site is 100 percent secure, by teaching your employees to avoid disreputable sites, you can limit the likelihood of infection.
If your company is particularly high profile, you could fall victim to social engineering. This is where an attack is targeted at your company and your employees.
Attackers may claim to be the relative of an employee, a former employee, or even a current employee in a different department. If your staff is only trained to watch for external threats, this is a particularly worrying form of attack.
We’ve shown you how we can help your business stay safe from the threat of ransomware. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the most common questions about ransomware attacks.
What Can I Do Once I’m Infected?
If you’ve been infected with ransomware, it is too late to do anything about it. If your systems have been backed up, then it is best to format your computers and reinstall from a backup.
If your files are not backed up, the situation is far more difficult. There are certain circumstances where paying the ransom can make sense from a business perspective. Would you lose more than the ransom would cost?
This approach does leave you having to accept the honesty of the attackers. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get your files back.
Can I Remove Ransomware?
Removing ransomware is possible, but it’s a difficult process with no guarantee of results.
If the ransomware attack has encrypted your PC, removing the malware won’t get your files back. The encryption key is typically stored on the attackers’ server. If you don’t pay, you don’t get them back.
My Ransomware is Threatening Me, What’s Happening?
You should never believe a ransomware’s intimidating messages. For example, if it says that your computer or network has been used for illegal activity, this is not the case. It could have the emblems of police forces, the FBI, or Interpol; this is still not a real threat.
Another common message is that your computer has been infected with a virus. To solve this, you need to follow certain steps and pay a fee. Don’t ever do this and instead get in touch with your IT support immediately.
To Be Forewarned is to Be Forearmed
The best defense against ransomware attacks is an educated workforce. If your employees know how to deal with phishing, social engineering, and other threats, you are better protected.
We can help you. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll give you a quote for cybersecurity training. Stay educated, stay safe, stay in business.