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Ransomware Continues to Threaten Businesses

Man looking at code on laptop to illustrate ransomware
May 15, 2017

The danger for businesses, small and large

Ransomware attacks continued to dramatically impact the business world in 2016. Millions of dollars were lost as hackers held business data hostage in the hopes of extracting ransom money from countless companies. This increased threat indicates that businesses must protect themselves now more than ever.

Considering the time lost and money spent during a ransomware attack—tallying up the technical support, cybersecurity consultants and more—it’s important that businesses learn how to handle this growing threat.

What You
Should Know

In 2016, ransomware attacks became even more sophisticated, costing businesses hundreds of millions of dollars.

What You
Can Do

Prepare your company with educational materials, create a response plan and consider advanced data backup technology.

72% of infected business users could not access their data for at least two days following a ransomware outbreak, and 32% lost access for five days or more. 1

The biggest ransomware trends of 2016

Here’s how hackers upped the ante last year.

  1. Crypto-ransomware dominated the market. In Symantec’s yearly report, the cybersecurity company noted all but one of the new families documented were crypto-ransomware programs, a type of ransomware that encrypts files.2
  2. Small and large businesses were targeted. 89% of businesses targeted by ransomware attacks had 10 employees or more. 60% of businesses had 100 employees or more.3
  3. Ransomware attacks affected multiple employees at once. 75% of ransomware attacks targeted three or more people at once.4
  4. The U.S. was targeted more than any other country. 28% of attacks were in the States, more than any other country.5

What you can do about the increased threats

We’ve highlighted the most important steps to take to prevent ransomware in our original article. Here’s what you can do to help mitigate an attack if and when it occurs:

  1. Educate your employees. Attackers typically use phishing scams to infect computers with ransomware. Add a phishing module to your yearly compliance training with a special focus on ransomware threats. Teach employees to contact IT immediately if they think they’ve opened an insecure email or attachment. Make it clear that they should never troubleshoot a possible attack themselves. All these steps can help enable your business to quickly respond to a threat.
  2. Create a response plan for ransomware. Know what steps you’ll take ahead of time to prevent an attack from spreading. Steps to keep in mind: take infected computers off the network, call in cybersecurity consultants if IT can’t manage the problem, and, if necessary, contact law enforcement.
  3. Consider using network attached storage (NAS) as backup. For those looking for a faster way to recover lost files after an attack, NAS is an alternative option to cloud-based storage, the preferred data backup method for many companies. NAS keeps files on a shared drive that systematically backs itself up and is locked to everyone except approved users. However, NAS requires high-level knowledge so be sure you have an expert employee or consultant to install and manage it.
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