As a business owner or manager, you need to address a range of cybersecurity threats. Ransomware is one of the most widespread and insidious.
Ransomware is malicious software (malware) that encrypts files or locks computers. People or groups behind ransomware attacks demand payment – often in digital currency – to restore access.
Ransomware can infect a business or government organisation in many ways. For example, a worker may inadvertently open a malicious attachment or click on a link in a phishing email to a malware-laden website. Once ransomware infects a computer or network, it may seek to spread to vulnerable shared systems.
According to the 2018 Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment from Europol – the European Union’s law enforcement agency – ransomware remains the key threat in law enforcement and industry reporting.
In 2017, ransomware attacks called WannaCry and NotPetya – that exploited vulnerabilities in older or unpatched versions of Microsoft Windows – caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage to businesses and organisations worldwide. Industry experts expect similar attacks to occur in future.
So how can your business protect itself against ransomware attacks? The following steps may help minimise the risk of infection.
You should note that Australian Government cyber-security bodies typically recommend against paying ransomware owners. There is no guarantee owners will restore access to the compromised files and they or other attackers may identify your business or organisation as a target for future attempts.
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By Simon Ryan, CTO