5 Tips to Avoid Ransomware Attacks

Here’s a quick quiz:

  1. Do you know how much money ransomware cost companies in 2018?
  2. What was the average cost of ransomware attacks against businesses?
  3. How many companies that were attacked by ransomware had up to date virus protection?
  4. How many cybersecurity professionals think their companies are prepared to fight ransomware?

The answers may shock you.

  1. It cost companies over $8 billion in ransomware attacks in 2018.
  2. The average ransomware cost to a company was $133,000.
  3. 75% of companies attacked had up-to-date virus protection.
  4. 52% of cybersecurity professionals don’t think their companies are prepared for a ransomware attack.

How did you do? Did the results scare you? Before you throw your computers out the window and commit to running your business like it’s 1919, just take a breath and know that BCS ProSoft is here to help.

Ransomware attacks happen to companies big and small. A ransomware attack in 2017 cost FedEx $300 million. And those fees weren’t just to pay the cyberpirates out there trying to plunder unsuspecting companies – a lot of the money is spent rebuilding data. And less than one-third of companies get their ransom money back! Rebuilding data takes time. Companies usually spend at least a week regaining access to their data. That’s a lot of money and a lot of time. Money and time probably aren’t things you’re trying to just give away.

Ransomware attacks happen a lot. There’s a new attack every 40 seconds. You may be thinking, “It’s not going to happen to me.” That thinking only works until it does happen to you. Then what do you do? You spend time and money rebuilding data and not serving customers. While a bunch of techies try to get your business built back up, the customer experience goes down the tubes. A customer that isn’t getting served by your company isn’t going to pause their life, they’re going elsewhere. All this talk about ransomware and we haven’t even gone down the road of server crashes or regular old viruses. The point is, disaster can strike, so you need to prepare. Education, planning, and your friends at BCS ProSoft will certainly help you get ready.

Here’s a checklist to get you started:

1. Back up all your data

Your most powerful weapon to defeat ransomware is a regularly scheduled backup. Backup frequency should be based on the strategic importance of the data and how much your organization can afford to lose. It is vital to test your backups to make sure that the system is working and the correct data is being saved. Not all backups are created equally, either. An onsite backup is susceptible to viruses, flood, fire, theft, or other undesirable situations. We recommend an offsite backup, e.g. cloud-based. Talk to the team at BCS ProSoft on the optimal way to handle backups. 

2. Patch it up!

Ransomware attackers frequently rely on people running outdated software with known vulnerabilities to sneak into your data. It’s imperative to keep your software up to date to keep the bad guys out. Inconsistent patching and outdated software will leave you exposed. Having a set patching schedule helps you keep systems up to date and provides visibility into those that cannot be patched. If your ERP software isn’t current, please contact your BCS ProSoft Account Manager to review options.  

3. Educate your users on attack methods

No, you didn’t win a new iPhone or a trip to Jamaica, and no one is trying to share their fortune with you. The weakest link in the security chain is usually human. By falling for a phishing email or other social engineering scheme, an employee may leave your organization exposed. Reinforce your users’ knowledge with regular testing and focus their training on specific areas where needed. Sometimes your employees may innocently access compromised sites or emails that contain malvertising, thereby exposing your network to malware. Initial ransomware infections typically occur through an email attachment or a malicious download. By diligently blocking malicious websites, emails, and attachments sent by attackers in a ransomware campaign, you can keep your network protected.

4. Don’t pay the ransom

Although you may be tempted to pay the ransom to regain control over your system, you’re dealing with criminals so there is no promise you will be granted access back. Contact the authorities, IT, and the team at BCS ProSoft.

5. Keep a close eye on network activity

You cannot protect what you cannot see. Gaining in-depth network visibility may sound like a daunting task, but it is a crucial one! The ability to see everything happening across your network and data center can help you uncover attacks that bypass the perimeter and infiltrate your internal environment.

Ransomware is scary, so contact BCS ProSoft to work with our team to create a Disaster Recovery Plan, an Education Plan, to check data backups, and to make sure your software is up-to-date. It’s better to protect your business proactively than being forced to rebuild after an attack. Together we’ll fight those cyberpirates like the swashbucklers we are!

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