If you’ve presumed ransomware criminals target only corporate conglomerates and large enterprise businesses, you’d be dangerously mistaken.
In a recent piece by The Indianapolis Star, reporter Kris Turner writes ransomware—a malicious program that can hold your data hostage until you pay up—is a growing, real threat affecting small and midsize businesses in Indianapolis.
It’s happening now, it’s happening here and it’s happening more often.
Ransomware, as Turner describes it, “locks a computer when someone unknowingly releases the virus, [then] holds data and other pertinent information hostage until a sum of money is paid.”
It’s what happened to Sheet Metal Workers Union back in April. The virus came as a résumé attachment in an email. “Although the company had antivirus protections in place,” Turner writes, “a laptop of a satellite office in Fort Wayne was infected because it hadn’t received the same treatment as the union’s central office in Indianapolis.” Unfortunately, most of the hijacked files were never recovered.
Around the same time, the FBI issued an alert that ransomware incidents are, indeed, on the rise. The federal agency advises against paying a ransom in response to an attack, reasoning that payment doesn’t guarantee you’ll get your data back, and incentivizes criminals to get involved or step up their illegal exploits. Rather, the FBI urges organizations to develop solid security and business continuity plans, paired with preventive training of employees.
Security strategies should include:
- Antivirus software that is up-to-date.
- Countermeasures like firewalls, blocking binaries from popular ransomware installation paths, and disabling ActiveX content in Microsoft Office applications.
- A strong backup system, including offline backups.
- Ongoing employee education.
Cybercriminals are evolving their tactics and targeted strategies on a daily basis. Every business, regardless of size or technological sophistication, should be just as active in taking countermeasures to mitigate security risks of their company.
Not sure what to do next, or who to turn to for help? Request a complimentary consultation and one of our security experts will provide you with practical guidance and peace of mind.