A recent Pwnie Express survey of 582 IT security professionals stated that the healthcare and public health sector is the LEAST prepared for ransomware attacks and other types of cyber attacks. 85% of these IT security professionals said that a cyberattack on the critical infrastructure involved in the healthcare sector will occur in the next five years. Of course, businesses in the healthcare sector are not the only ones vulnerable to these attacks. A 2017 report by Cisco stated that ransomware is growing 350% annually. As a result of this enormous growth, all businesses MUST take safety pre-cautions and prepare themselves for any type of malware attacks, especially ransomware.
What Is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of virus which prevents a user from accessing their computer system or personal files. The hacker then, demands a ransom payment for the user to re-gain access to their computer system. When businesses and individuals become victims of ransomware, the majority feel that the easiest way to get their data back is to pay the ransom. According to Kaspersky, 36% of businesses infected with ransomware paid the ransom, while 17% who paid never recovered their data even after paying. Thus demonstrating that making the ransom payment to these cyber criminals is a gamble. Ransomware attacks should be handled by IT professionals with experience in the field of malware. Famous ransomware attacks on businesses in Australia include the Family Planning NSW attack, Victorian Hospitals attack and the Melbourne Heart Clinic attack.
How To Prevent Ransomware Attacks From Affecting You and Your Business
It is estimated by the Cyber Security Ventures, that a new organisation will fall victim to ransomware every 11 seconds by 2021. Your business is evidently at risk of being one of these victims. Therefore, it is important that you take the necessary safety pre-cautions so you can protect yourself and your business from ransomware attacks. Here are five tips to help protect your business from ransomware:
- Backup All Data: Server and workstation data should be backed up frequently, off-site of course. It is important that all data is backed up because a ransomware attack can compromise all your business’s data. If your data is backed up somewhere else, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to retrieve your data with a reliable disaster & recovery solution.
- Implement Well-tested Antivirus Software: All devices connected to your business’s network must use an antivirus software which is well-tested and up-to-date. Since new ransomware variants are being introduced everyday, it is even more important to ensure your antivirus software is reliable. If you’re not sure whether or not you are using reliable antivirus software, contact us and we’ll help you out.
- Systems Must Be Up-To-Date: Are you still using Windows 7 and/or Windows Server 2008? Microsoft ended support for these operating systems on the 14th of January, 2020. That means that there will be no further patches or security updates and your systems will be at risk. We, at Inteck IT, offer managed service plans that will keep you up and running with the latest technology.
- Use Threat Intelligence & Predictive Analysis: Web filtering, antivirus scanning and intrusion prevention detection are all methods which actively protect your network from external attacks. These methods are fundamental for a secure environment and can provide your business with 24/7 protection from cyber-attacks.
- Educate Employees & Users: Research by IBM reveals that 59% of ransomware attacks are due to phishing emails. Therefore, employees and users in a business’s network must be trained to be cautious of emails from senders which are unknown or are unexpected. They must also know not to open attachments or links from unknown emails.
What To Do If Your Computer Systems Are Compromised
If you computer systems have been compromised by ransomware, there are a few steps you should initially complete:
- Disconnect your machine from the internet and external devices: It is important to do so because you risk infecting other devices, your local network and file-syncing networks, i.e OneDrive.
- Using a smartphone, take a picture of the ransom note displayed on your screen: This will be important when contacting an IT security professional for assistance. It will allow the expert to identify the type of ransomware attack.
- Do NOT restart your machine: Instead of restarting your machine or shutting it down, simply put it in ‘Hibernate’ mode. Restarting your machine may make it easier for the ransomware to encrypt your files.