Ransomware: What It Is And How To Protect Your Business

Ransomware: What It Is And How To Protect Your Business

Several years ago, when we first started hearing about ‘ransomware,’ we were told it was only happening to individuals and that they were being specifically targeted. Now cyber criminals are becoming greedier and going after small businesses. Here’s what you need to know about them, and how to protect yourself and your business against them.

If knowledge is power, there are 3 main types of ransomware you need to be aware of.

"Scareware"

These are the annoying pop ups that occur when you’re just surfing the web. They claim that your computer has been identified as having seventy billion pieces of malware and the only way to fix is it if you pay a fee RIGHT NOW. This is patently false. They are meant to scare you and get you to react before you think. 

Threat Level: 1  

"Screen Lockers"

This is when things get a bit scarier. On start up, these show a full screen image that claims your computer has been detected doing something illegal. It’s usually accompanied by a very official looking FBI or Justice Department seal. They then want you to pay a fine because of said illegal activity.  

The FBI will not freeze your computer if they detected you doing something illegal. They also would not ask you to pay a fine to get access back into said computer. 

Threat Level: 4

"Encryption"

This is the worst of the worst. This is someone getting into your computer and seizing control of ALL of your files,which they then encrypt — and only they hold the key. There is no way to get this back, other than paying the fine, which only makes you and others targets in the future.

Threat Level: 10 

If things are that bad though, what can you do? In this case, your best answer is to protect yourself ahead of time. First, do daily backups of every computer you work on. Whether this is to a server, an external hard driver or to the cloud, this is one of the most important steps. Even losing one day’s worth of files can set back a small business by months. Second, hire a professional to create an amazing firewall for you — something that both detects and thwarts potential threats. Third, stay aware. Social engineering is the most common way computers are infected. If it looks suspect, it probably is. 

Ransomware is a very real danger to both individuals and to businesses. When you’re ready to fight back against it and to protect your business, please contact us. 

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