Ransomware a growing menace for SMBs

Ransomware: A growing menace for SMBs

Ransomware has become a reality for some small businesses. But what is it and what steps can you take to protect your business against it?

One of the major problems facing small business owners when it comes to ransomware is the common misconception that because of their smaller size they are unlikely to be the target of cyber criminals. Yet, this is not true.

Ransomware targeting SMBs is becoming common security threat according to a report by computer security firm Malwarebytes. They found that almost 40% of businesses experienced a ransomware attack in 2016, and the threat is on the rise.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is an illegal moneymaking scheme where hackers use a malware virus to infect your files, encrypt them and hold them to ‘ransom’. Like most computer viruses, ransomware malware is installed by tricking an employee into clicking on a link or opening an attachment in a phishing email. Once activated the virus will get to work blocking access to your computer hardware, systems and files. Hackers will then demand a set fee (usually in bitcoin because it’s harder to trace) in return for decrypting those files.

How does Ransomware effect business?

The damage to businesses who are the target of a Ransomware attack can be catastrophic.

The physical cost of retrieving your files from the hacker – which can range from 1 x bitcoin (approx £790) to sums of £10,000 or more – can prove too much for some smaller businesses.

Not being able to retrieve valuable data can result in some business having to close down and even if you do get your data back, the resulting loss of revenue and the damage to your business reputation can be huge.

So, what can you do to protect your business from a Ransomware attack?

Safeguarding business against Ransomware

Staying one step ahead of the Ransomware criminals is not easy. Hackers are constantly finding new ways to blackmail businesses and hold valuable data hostage. Even businesses who are protected with belt and braces level firewall and anti-virus security can find themselves a target.

Like any naturally occurring viruses you can get variants to a computer virus. You can be anti-viruses up to the hilt, but when a new ‘Zero Day’ virus comes along there is a chance you can still be infected.

Not only do you have to take steps to stop the viruses you know about, you need to have a disaster recovery plan and necessary back-ups in place should something does affect you that is unknown.

When one of our clients experienced a Zero Day ransomeware attack, our disaster recovery planning kicked into action. Our monitoring systems picked up unusual server activity and within two hours we were able to identify, stop and clear out the ransomware attack on their systems.

Fortunately for this particular client we also perform back up’s four times a day. As a result we were able to fully restore our client’s data from the previous evening’s back-up. Without this level of proactive monitoring or such reliable back-ups, it could have taken days to fix the problem and the damage would have been far more serious than two hours of downtime!

Concerned about Ransomware?

Ransomware is a serious concern, but it should not put you out of business. To find out how our disaster recovery and back-up solutions can help protect your business please contact us today.