Ransomware on the Rise
In June 2016, our CEO, Carl Mazzanti, stated in an interview that ransomware was “the #1 growing IT security threat” to businesses. For those who aren’t familiar, ransomware is malicious software criminals use to block access to computer systems—or hold your data hostage—until you pay them.
As we work our way into 2017, the threat of ransomware is still growing. Take the St. Louis City Public Library, for example. In January, 700 computers throughout the library’s 16 branches fell victim to ransomware. As of publishing, it is uncertain when the devices will be available again for public usage.
The same thing can happen to individuals, and especially businesses—small and large. All it takes is clicking an email or link, or opening an attachment. Once your system is infected, your access to important payroll information or customer data may be cut off. Hackers will then attempt to take you for as much money as they want, and they might keep coming back if you don’t determine a solution.
Cisco, the global IT company, reported last July that 9,515 people are paying ransoms each month, and the average ransom is $300. That means hackers could potentially make up $34 million a year from ransomware attacks.
Of course, you could simply choose not to pay, but that calling a hacker’s bluff doesn’t always work out. According to a Fortune article, E-Sports Entertainment Association recently refused to pay a $100,000 ransom. Hackers then released “stolen data about its users, including emails, private messages, and phone numbers.”
Luckily, there are ways for companies to protect themselves. Vigilance is most important. You should only open materials from trusted sources—and specifically train your staff to do the same. It’s necessary to maintain a firewall, use antivirus software, and enable your browser to detect malicious websites. It’s also crucial to back up your data every day. Backing up allows you to recover data from before a ransomware attack—so you don’t lose any important information in the event of a security breach.
Whether you’re running a city library system, a small mom-and-pop retail store, or a multi-national business, keep your operations scam-free. By taking the proper precautions and protecting your systems, you can focus on growing your business—without worrying about security issues.
With clients all across the globe and locations in New Jersey and Washington, as well as Canada and Guatemala, eMazzanti is prepared help you do just that. And if you are the victim of an attack, we’re here to get you back on your feet in no time.
Want to learn more about avoiding ransomware attacks, and backing up your most valuable data? Contact us today.