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A New Kind of Ransomware Is Hurting Small Business

Criminals have stolen valuables and kidnapped people for ransom for millennia. As society becomes more sophisticated and technology is more sophisticated, so are criminals. No wonder the Internet has opened up huge new opportunities for the bad guys. One of the new options is the ransomware.

In 2014, ransomware encryption was much more common, but these aren’t the ransomware programs you could hear. Just a few years ago, the ransomware was based on deceiving computer users with false warnings, as if the computer had been infected, with the payment of this fee for removing “viruses” that are not on your computer. fines for a crime they did not commit.

A new form of cybercrime can immediately shut down a business using malware to freeze all files and documents before paying a ransom. According to Symantec’s latest report, this is one of the fastest growing threats to small and medium-sized businesses on the Internet.

Criminals use malware to encrypt information on the hard drive and then take files, photos and other information of the victim hostage on the computer. They require payment to get the key to unlock the files. Costs can be high. Usually it is 300 to 500 dollars in bitcoins – enough U.S. currency to cause serious harm to small or medium-sized businesses. Even after paying the ransom, there is no guarantee that the files will be decrypted.

Symantec reported in its 2015 Internet Security Threat Report that the number of ransomware attacks increased by 113% in 2014 due to an increase in the number of attacks using cryptographic ransomware by more than 4000%. Ransomware attacks have more than doubled, from 4.1 million in 2013 to 8.8 million in 2014. The number of ransomware increased from 8,274 in 2013 to 373,342 in 2014. That’s 45 times the number of ransomware in the world of threats in one year.

Small and medium-sized businesses should be concerned

The Symantec report says 2014 was a year of serious vulnerabilities, faster attacks, ransom files, and significantly more malicious code than in previous years. Almost a million new viruses are detected every day. According to their data, 60% of all targeted attacks affect small and medium-sized businesses. Equally alarming is that a recent study by Palo Alto Network found that 52% of malware in 2013 was aimed at bypassing security, making it difficult to defend against attacks.

Unsurprisingly, small and medium-sized businesses are being targeted. They often have fewer resources to invest in security, and many still do not use best practices to protect their valuable information. This endangers not only the company, but also its business partners and customers. Every organization, large or small, is vulnerable.

Steps to prevent ransomware attack

The perpetrator must find a way to gain access to the computer network to trigger the attack. It sounds simple enough to keep the bad guys away, and usually you don’t need to deal with these types of malicious attacks. All your protection efforts should be aimed at deterring thieves. Here are the steps you can take to prevent these types of attacks, in addition to standard virus and firewall protection:

Employee Training – Every business must create a culture of excellence in information security. Unfortunately, employees can be the weakest link in the security chain. Every employee should be trained in the basics of protecting the business from cyberattacks.

Password protection – introduce a password protection policy that includes a password change every 30-90 days and requires employees not to use them outside of work. Employees can use their login and password outside of work. Once this information is received, the perpetrator can use it to access the business.

Check the Dark Web for stolen credentials – a step that most companies miss. Stolen credentials, such as email address and password, often appear in places where thieves exchange stolen information for weeks, months, and even years before an attack occurs. Finding this information on the Dark Web and fixing the problem when it appears can prevent an attack.

Intrusion and security detection software. Many of them are heuristic in nature, waiting for and detecting suspicious viruses and malware that may lack traditional virus protection.

Back up your files every day, allowing your business to quickly deal with a cryptographic ransomware attack. A professional can clean up the network by removing malware and then installing backup files. The criminal hopes that you will not regularly back up your files and you have no choice but to pay the ransom.
We live in a rapidly changing world. It is also important for business to keep up with the times.

Preventive measures are much cheaper than combating cryptographic ransomware, data leaks or other forms of cybercrime. Criminals are constantly finding new and inventive ways to steal your money, employee and client information, trade secrets and/or simply undermine your business. Don’t be a victim. Take the recommended steps today.

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