Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, MD is ground zero of a recent malware attack which targeted numerous MedStar hospitals around the country. The criminals at the helm of the intrusion have demanded 45 bitcoins, or $18,500, in exchange for the key to unlock the infected data.
But MedStar is not the only business entity vulnerable to such an attack. With the ability to access networks through a variety of means, this kind of malware is easily disguised and can quickly deceive the average user.
That’s why the experts at Benton Technology Solutions saw fit this month to help small businesses better understand ransomware, including how it works and how to combat it. Continue reading to learn more about how to protect against a ransomware attack.
What is ransomware and how does it work?
Ransomware is a form of malware that infiltrates and encrypts a system’s files to prevent a user access. Typically, the virus is downloaded by visiting a compromised web page. However, it can also reach users in the form of an invoice and other downloadable attachments via spammy emails.
The malware then forces victims to pay a ‘ransom’ – usually with bitcoins – in order to unlock the files. Payment amount varies and does not even guarantee that the user will regain access to the blocked data. Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to locate the source of this kind of malware, which makes it an attractive opportunity in the eyes of cyber criminals.
How can businesses protect themselves?
Because ransomware strands continue to evolve, businesses must be educated, prepared and quick to respond at all times to prevent a cyber attack. Here are three effective ways to protect against a ransomware breach:
- Educate your employees. With myriad ransomwares in existence today, it is important that employees are trained to recognize and mitigate a variety of hacking situations. A well-trained workforce could be the difference between a mild breach and a catastrophic attack.
- Ensure anti-virus softwares are up-to-date. Another consequence of ever-evolving malware is the importance of up-to-date anti-virus software. An outdated anti-virus can do little to combat an updated form of ransomware. Keeping your security softwares recent and clean gives your network the best defense against a breach attempt.
- Regularly backup your most valuable data. Despite educated workers and up-to-date security measures, you are not 100% immune to ransomware. That’s why we recommend maintaining an isolated backup of your most valuable data. This way you’ll have another copy if it falls victim to a ransomware encryption.
Is the future bleak?
Unfortunately, the future of ransomware seems prosperous. Due to a lucrative operational scheme and payment routes that afford perpetrators near complete anonymity, the ransomware industry will likely continue to adapt, evolve and sophisticate – making your business’ security efforts even more imperative in the coming years.
Contact Us To Learn More About Ransomware!
We are trained and experienced in handling ransomware attacks, and can provide you with the tools you need to protect your business. Contact us today to learn more!