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Ransomware: The top security concern for businesses

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Ransomware-attacks-by-countryRansomware has become the number one security concern for organisations. 2016 saw a staggering 400% spike in the number of ransomware families, and evidence suggests a further 25% growth in 2017.

The UK now features fourth in terms of countries most affected by ransomware, and within this, the City of London is the top target. According to a survey by Osterman Research, 54% of businesses in the UK were targeted by ransomware last year, with a subsequent 58% paying the ransom. Whilst small and medium sized businesses may think they are unattractive attack targets, this is simply not the case. They are often considered easier pickings with limited ransomware protection systems in place.

How does this affect your business and what you can do about it? We shed light on the matter below.

 

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits the use of your systems until a ransom is paid.

Modern crypto-ransomware encrypts your files and requests an online ransom payment in return for a decryption key. There is no guarantee that paying the ransom will get your files back so as always, prevention is better than cure.

There are over 50 different types of identified threats and we’ve highlighted a couple of nasty ones below:

Fantom-ransomware

  • Fantom: Microsoft now automatically installs Windows system updates and the Fantom ransomware takes advantage of this by posing as a critical Windows update. When executed, it extracts a file called WindowsUpdate.exe and displays the familiar but fake Windows Update screen until all files are encrypted and a ransom note displayed.
  • Popcorn Time: A particularly nasty form of ransomware that allows you to Popcorn-ransomwaredecrypt your files for free, providing you infect others. This is the first ransomware to give users the choice of engaging in illegal activity to save their encrypted data. A moral dilemma…would you do it?

 

How to protect your Business?

Protecting against ransomware is not only about investing in the latest security software. It requires good security practices and regular employee training.

Whilst 100% protection does not exist, adopting a multi-layered security approach is best. This includes a solid backup strategy to mitigate the damages of possible infection, as well as regular patch updates, limited administrator access, employee awareness and up-to-date anti-malware, firewall and email security software.

For a simple guide on how to protect your business, read our Top 10 Tips to Protect against Ransomware.


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