Ransomware schemes present a clear and present danger to Australian organisations. A strategy that adds layers of protection and training enhances cybersecurity.
Ransomware consistently ranks among the preferred methods of attack by hackers around the world. That’s primarily because ransomware opens a veritable tool kit filled with techniques that include trickery, confidence scams, sleight of hand, and digital burglary. If a cybercriminal has the will, skills, and a laptop, your business could be held hostage far more straightforward than you might expect.
“Small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Australia and New Zealand hold the highest rate of Ransomware attacks in the world according to new cybersecurity research,” according to Business News Australia. And, “91 percent of SMEs have reported attacks in the last two years.”
That’s why business leaders need to be acutely aware of potential ransomware attacks and how to defend against them.
Ransomware schemes are both diverse and straightforward. Digital scammers sometimes cast a wide net with clever emails that entice people to open them, download a file, or click on a link. That scheme is typically called “Phishing” and hackers can seize control of a device and an associated business network. To say such as ransomware attack could prove costly would be something of an understatement.
“The average cost of that downtime is US$141,000, a more than 200 percent increase over last year’s average downtime cost of US$46,800,” Australian Cybersecurity Magazine reports. “The report also uncovered that the cost of downtime is now 23 times greater than the average ransom request of US $5,900.”
Another modus operandi involves luring someone to a website and encouraging them to provide identity information, credit cards, or bank account numbers. Once you click, it’s game over.
There’s also the cat burglar approach of gaining someone’s username and password to break into a network and depositing a ransomware file. Once quietly inside the system, it encrypts valuable business data and holds the organisation hostage until a sum of money is paid, usually in Bitcoin. And, hackers routinely disappear without unlocking or sending victims a decryption code to reclaim their data.
Although digital hijackers show no signs of slowing their nefarious activities, there is some good news. Hackers generally need someone within an organisation to make a technology misstep before they can penetrate the system. Therefore, education and a determined cybersecurity strategy can be a powerful deterrent. Industry leaders would be wise to consider the following.
By developing a fallback position with a managed IT consultant, your company won’t become a victim. Backing up data daily, both onsite and in the Cloud means that you can only lose one day’s work in the event of a disastrous hack. It’s essential to secure files stored in network computers to external hard drives out of a digital bandit’s reach.
Having the latest business-grade antivirus software, firewalls, fully patched software, Virtual Private Networks, and secure endpoint devices are considered substantial impediments. Decision-makers may want to consider shifting protections to two-factor authentication (2FA) to prevent hackers from waltzing into your network after gaining an employee’s username and password. A savvy 2FA adds a layer of protection by sending codes to secondary devices or requiring answers to questions only the valid users know.
In many ways, ransomware attacks are like adverse trends. Cybercriminals follow what people are searching for online and give them a phony version.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, these scurrilous individuals launched thousands of malware-laced fake coronavirus sites and flooded people’s emails with scams. By enlisting a third-party cybersecurity specialist to update management and workers about the latest schemes and techniques, your outfit could avoid becoming the next victim. Education and ongoing vigilance matter.
Managed IT service providers have a range of skillsets and experience. While many claim to have the knowledge and training to deliver top-tier cybersecurity, it’s essential to verify. After all, your valuable data and the company’s reputation could be upended.
At Steadfast Solutions, we deliver experienced, diligently managed IT cybersecurity services and consultations for the business community across Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth.