Ransomware hit the news this year when the Colonial pipeline was attacked — showing that no one is safe from criminal attackers. Every year, countless companies lose millions of dollars to cybersecurity breaches. Every company needs to be concerned about ransomware and cybersecurity, and every company needs to be prepared.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a specific type of cyber attack targeted toward a cash reward. Ransomware will infect a network, encrypting the files discovered there. To decrypt these files, the business attacked will need to pay a ransom, generally in cryptocurrency. If the ransom is paid, the attacker will often (but not always) send a decryption key. In the Colonial pipeline attack, the company paid the ransom, and a key was received, but decryption took too long.
Ransomware attacks are devastating. Companies need their data to function. They can lose millions of dollars when disrupted in this fashion — to say nothing of the ransom that they may need to pay.
What Are the Costs of a Ransomware Attack?
Like other cybersecurity costs, the costs of a ransom attack are both direct and indirect. Directly, there's a cost associated with business disruption, with improving and revising security systems, and with restoring the data. There may also be the cost of the ransom itself, should the business choose to pay it.
Indirectly, there can be a loss of customer faith. The business may lose clients. The company may also need to pay fees if they are negligent in regulations or compliance.
What Are Other Cybersecurity Risks?
Ransomware isn't the only type of cybersecurity attack, though it is the swiftest growing. Other cybersecurity attacks include:
- Phishing. Phishing occurs when a cybercriminal connects with someone in the company and tries to procure data, such as login information, from them. Phishers may appear to be a bank, an IT company, or another service with which the company does business. Once in the system, the attacker may try to steal data or financial information.
- Whaling. Whaling is a phishing attack but targeted at a specific, high-level individual. If not properly trained on cybersecurity, members of the C-suite can be uniquely vulnerable to this type of attack. Today, cybercriminals can go on LinkedIn and find in-depth information about a company and its structure.
- DDoS attacks. Distributed-Denial-of-Service attacks aim to take a company down or disrupt the company's network to the extent it can no longer protect itself. These attacks can be brutal and require a good firewall and anti-malware solution to protect against.
All these attacks can cost a company major disruption. While the goals may be different each time, they can damage a company's reputation, steal information (and money) from the company, and disrupt its ability to provide its products and services.
How Do You Protect Yourself from Ransomware?
Though ransomware is devastating, there is one bright side: ransomware is relatively easy to defend against, unlike many other types of cyberattacks. To defend against ransomware, a company needs to have backups. If the company can restore its backups, the ransomware isn't a threat.
But there are problems even with this. If the company's backups aren't recent, they can still lose data. If the backups were also vulnerable, they, too, could be encrypted. So, the company does need to make sure it has consistent and reliable backups. Other than this, companies have to be proactive about their security. They need to install security systems and ensure that their systems are regularly audited and analyzed.
Small-to-midsized businesses are the largest targets for cybersecurity attacks today & any company can be vulnerable. Proactive security and maintenance are a necessity for those who want to protect themselves and their business. Contact Fresh Byte Software for secure solutions for your wholesale business today.