There is a new malware trend that has been growing recently, it is being called ransomware. Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to your computer system until a sum of money is paid.

There are several businesses that are being targeted by “crypto-ransomware” that is encrypting the files on their computers. In these cases, the attackers will only provide a decryption key if imagesyou pay them the ransom.

This malware can be very serious due to the types of businesses it is attacking. Hospitals, cities, police departments are only a few that have been targeted. The cost of the ransom payment is not only the potential loss with this type of attack. The biggest damage will come from your downtime. When a ransomware hits, the files within your system may be locked and inaccessible for days.

Even after paying the ransom, it is highly suggested that all computers be wiped free if it had been infected. So even though the ransom is paid and you have access to your computer system, you will have to suffer some downtime to restore all of your computers to before the attack.

Ransomware infections happen primarily through phishing emails. A user receives a seemingly innocent email and opens the attachment or clicks a link to download the malware.

It is critically important to take the below prevention steps to protect your business from Ransomware.

How to Protect Your Business

  • Make sure you have file backups. If you don’t have file backup in place, please hire a service immediately.
  • Educate your employees about phishing. Give tips for helping them recognize suspicious emails such as anything that has a request with high urgency or to take quick action. Also make them aware of what type of information is being requested. Don’t ever send personal or financial information through email.
  • Educate your employees about ransomware. Ransomware, a category of viruses that encrypts files on a victim’s computer and keeps them locked until the victim pays a set ransom. If you don’t pay the criminals who spread the virus, which could be up to $5,000 per user, you may lose the files forever.
  • Build a containment plan. Ransomware has been known to propagate from one user to another. Anti-malware services will catch the malware before it infects the user, and then they can reach out to the user to prevent them from launching the malware.
  • Deploy a business continuity solution. Many businesses have plans in place for natural disasters, power outages or other disruptions. Few have “e-crisis” response plans for cyber threats such as ransomware.