Cyber Extortion: The New Threat to SMBs
There’s no doubt that ransomware is a worldwide epidemic, as we found in State of the Channel Ransomware Report. My discussions with end users indicate that the threat of ransomware is stronger than ever, and the stakes have never been higher.
Recently, we experience an incident with one of our clients. a family-owned flower shop that suffered a $3,000 ransomware attack. They didn’t have the proper BDR technology in place or the ability to pay the ransom demand. With limited cash flow, this was the straw that broke the camel's back, and they were forced to close their doors and walked away after 15 years.
This incident stuck with me and got thinking about how we all got into this situation. What was the trigger that has allowed these thieves to start doing this? It comes down to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. I’ve spent more time becoming familiar with cryptocurrencies recently and how they facilitate extortion. Yes, I said extortion.
For the industry and end users, I’ve started drawing the correlation to old Hollywood gangster movies. We’ve all seen them, gangsters extort money from a small business owner using an implied threat of violence. “You wouldn’t want your store to burn down, would you?” Of course, the small business owner has no choice but to pay up and the thieves. What we’re dealing with today is no different. Hackers are extorting money from small businesses.
This is cyber extortion. Thieves pick on SMBs because they often do not have the means to defend themselves. The SMB owner can’t possibly stay on top of all the things they can leverage to protect their IT infrastructure, and cryptocurrencies are making it difficult to track and slow these criminals down.
Here’s a bit of advice. Never, and I mean NEVER pay the ransom. First, when you pay the ransom, you are letting the thieves know that they have a fish on the line. You have money, and you value your data. They’ll come back again and again. Even if you pay the ransom, there is a significant chance you won’t get your data back anyway.
Add into all this that the amount of ransom is insignificant compared to the downtime you suffer as a result. 75 percent of clients experienced business-threatening downtime as a result of a ransomware attack.
Here’s the good news for business owners. There are affordable plans and technologies in place that can prevent and recover from such attacks. The first step is to get serious about your technology. It’s not going away. Along with the good things technology does to enable businesses, it also comes with more of the bad. A proper security BDR solution by a local expert that can stay on top of the evolving threats is critical to success, keeping your doors open and keeping YOUR money in YOUR pocket.
How to Avoid CyberAttacks?
Employee Education: CYBERSECURITY 101 It's critical that your staff understands what ransomware is and the threats that it poses. Provide your team with specific learning experience examples of suspicious emails with clear instructions on what to do if they encounter a potential ransomware lure (i.e. don’t open attachments, if you see something, say something, etc.) see CYBERSECURITY 101 training program.
Security: To protect against ransomware and other risks, Antivirus software is essential for any business to Ensure you PREVENT, PROTECT AND DEFEND against ransomware and other risks. Ensure your security software is up to date to protect against newly identified threats. Keep all business applications patched and updated to minimize vulnerabilities.
Backup Disaster recovery: Modern total data protection solutions take snapshot-based, incremental backups as frequently as every five minutes to create a series of recovery points. If your business suffers a ransomware attack, this technology allows you to roll-back your data to a point-in-time before the corruption occurred. First, you don’t need to pay the ransom to get your data back. Second, since you are restoring to a point-in-time before the ransomware infected your systems, you can be certain everything is clean and the malware can’t be triggered again.
EmailSecurity: Use a real Cloud-based email security platform, a robust, secure, and legally compliant email encryption.
Quarterly Network Security Assessments: Did you know that most security vulnerabilities occur inside a business, behind the firewall? In fact, more than 70% of all cyber security incidents today are the result of INTERNAL security issues that no firewall, anti-virus or malware device could have prevented. schedule yours now.
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