Even business owners who don’t pay a lot of attention to tech trends have heard quite a bit about ransomware. It’s been in the news frequently, mainly because hackers are getting so good at writing these types of viruses that they’ve successfully extorted big money from individuals, corporations, and even hospitals.
In case you aren’t familiar with the specifics, ransomware works like this: a malicious application is loaded onto your computer (usually through a suspicious download or email attachment). Then, the software launches and freezes your computer – or even your entire network – until you send money overseas through an untraceable account.
These types of attacks get their name because they hold your data and communications up for ransom. And, the worst infections can be incredibly difficult to deal with. So, let’s take a look at what you can do to protect your small business from criminals using ransomware.
#1 Use Basic Protections Against Hackers
The first step in keeping your computers free from any kind of malicious code is using basic safeguards. These include strong firewalls, up-to-date antivirus software, and sturdy spam protection for your email. It also helps if you use strong passwords, and leave the standard security features on your operating system fully-functional. None of these will guarantee you won’t be the subject of a ransomware attack, but they do make it harder for thieves to target you.
#2 Be Careful Where You Surf, and What You Open
Even if you follow our first piece of advice, it’s easy to become the target of a ransomware scheme if you visit questionable websites, or have a habit of opening email attachments you don’t recognize. Like many viruses, ransomware applications are often hidden within other things people download, such as pirated movies, risqué photos, and items that have been made to look like business documents. Good antivirus protection can help here, but you still have to be careful about what you and your employees allow onto your computers, phones, or tablets.
#3 Back Your Drives up Frequently
Most people treat the advice to back up their files on a daily basis in the same way they do a dentist’s tip to floss each morning and night: as a good suggestion, but something they won’t get around to doing. But, when you are the victim of a ransomware attack, being able to restore your systems to a recent (but unaffected) status can make an enormous difference. Plus, running regular backups is a great way to protect your company against other types of IT disasters, as well.
#4 Get Expert Help
If these measures fail and you find yourself with computers or devices that are locked up by ransomware, do not attempt to fix the problem on your own. Instead, take the ransomed devices offline, shut them down, and make sure they can’t infect other machines on your network. Then, call our team to take the next step. We may be able to remove the virus… or at the very least, ensure it doesn’t affect you or your business more than it already has.
Ransomware is a nuisance, but given its success for hackers, you can bet it isn’t going away anytime soon. So, it’s up to business owners and managers everywhere to know how to prevent attacks and deal with them when they occur. Use these tips to avoid finding yourself in trouble.
Need an IT vendor your business can count on? Call our team today to set up a free consultation and review your technology plan.