Ransomware and Malware, the Invisible Enemy
Colonial Pipeline, JBS Foods, Accenture, and Acer. What are these names in common? Yes, they are some of the world’s most successful companies and organizations, but they were also victims of some of the most significant ransomware attacks in 2021.
Apart from facing ransom demands of up to $50 million, victims of ransomware attacks had to endure many days of business disruption. But that isn’t all. In some cases, hackers allegedly published sensitive company data and financial information online to claim responsibility for the attack and demonstrate the extent of the damage intended.
In this article, we’ll look at how ransomware attacks can devastate both large corporations and formidable government institutions. We’ll also look at the most practical and feasible ways to protect yourself and your company from such attacks.
What is a Ransomware Attack?
A Ransomware attack occurs when a piece of malware encrypts data on a computer, rendering it inaccessible unless the attacker is paid a ransom. A Ransomware attack begins with a phishing tactic, such as an email or social media account message; when clicked on, the opportunistic software infiltrates your system, ties up with your contacts, and begins automatically releasing files. Once in control of your device, it will encrypt all data using advanced encryption technology.
Furthermore, ransomware can quickly spread throughout an organisation, affecting multiple devices and systems. As a result, businesses must be aware of the risks of ransomware attacks and take steps to protect data even before an attack occurs.
The entire purpose of ransomware is to extort money from people, usually in a cryptocurrency, in exchange for decrypting the device. These hackers can be tracked because they have provided their cryptocurrency address, which you should independently verify if you want to trade with them.
What Impact Will a Ransomware Attack Have on Your Company?
Although we briefly addressed this question earlier, here’s a closer look at the potential damage a ransomware attack can cause even to small-to-medium-sized businesses.
- Business Downtime: If the ransomware encrypts your business-critical files (which it almost certainly will), your company may have to close for days or weeks while you try to recover your data. In most cases, a ransomware attack will result in lost revenue and customer trust.
- Ransom Demand: As a business, you’ll have to make one of the most difficult decisions: whether to pay the ransom or not. While regulatory agencies around the world discourage organisations from paying the ransom, many businesses choose to do so because they have no other choice.
If you are attacked, you could end up losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom, with no guarantee that the attackers will unlock your data.
The cost of a ransomware attack also varies according to the type of attack, the amount of data encrypted, and the type of business. For instance, a small company with limited data might only need to pay a few hundred dollars to get its data back, whereas a big company might have to pay millions in ransom.
- Reputational Damage: If news of the attack spreads, which it almost certainly will, your company’s reputation could suffer significantly. As a result of the attack, your existing customers’ data and confidential information may leak, making it difficult not only to retain existing clients and customers but also to discourage others from doing business or partnering with your organization in the future.
Four Practical Ways for Entrepreneurs to Protect Their Data
Entrepreneurs need to be more aware of the risks they are taking with their data. They need to be aware of what dangers their data is exposed to. They should take the necessary precautions and protect their data from getting breached.
There are many ways that entrepreneurs can protect their data. It is important to understand the importance of data protection and how it can affect the business. There are 4 practical ways for entrepreneurs to protect their data
- Make sure your devices are up to date with the latest security patches.
If you want to keep your devices safe, then make sure they’re up to date with the latest security patches. It’s also important to ensure that you have a strong password and don’t share your password with anyone.
- Use two-factor authentication on all of your accounts and devices.
Two-factor authentication (2FA) protects your account by requiring both “something you know” and “something you have.” The “something you know” is a password, while the “something you have” is a code that is sent to your phone or email. 2FA prevents hackers from accessing your accounts even if they steal your password.
- Enable encryption on all your devices and files, if possible.
Encryption is the process of encoding messages or information in such a way that only authorized parties can access it. You should enable encryption on all of your devices, and for any files you have.
- Cyber insurance, and cyber security training.
Cyber insurance provides coverage for damages caused by computer fraud, virus attacks, and other types of cyber-attacks. Cyber security training helps employees learn how to identify phishing scams and malware threats before they become a problem for the company.
For all businesses, security is of the utmost importance, and protecting information comes as standard practice. Part of this security includes safeguarding against various types of malware, one of which is ransomware.
The business impact of ransomware attacks can be significant, ranging from stolen data to shortened product life cycles to lower revenue. Providing ransomware protection remains a critical strategy for any organisation. One method is to use cloud hosting solutions that include advanced data backup processes and software products.
Today, preparation is the only real protection against a ransomware attack. Being proactive and having a plan in place, in case of an attack, is the best way to protect your business. You may not be able to prevent a ransomware attack by taking the time to understand the risks and prepare for them, but you will be able to reduce the trouble it can cause.