There are a few things in this world that can put your business to its knees. One of these things is a ransomware attack. What can you do if you get attacked?
Sadly, there are still businesses that don’t take the threat of ransomware seriously. They see it as an unlucky businessman’s boogeyman. But the facts tell a different story. Over 62% of small and medium-sized businesses claimed to have been a victim of a ransomware attack. This has increased by over 130% from the previous years. The research also shows that attacking small and medium-sized businesses is turning into a lucrative venture for cybercriminals as ransom averaged at around $80,000 per attack. According to experts, the losses from ransomware attacks can reach $20 billion for the year 2021 and it will only go up from there.
These numbers don’t lie. Ransomware presents a clear and present danger to all businesses. Sadly, smaller businesses tend to become better targets because they are more likely to pay as they can’t bear the losses that come with downtime and data loss.
But what is ransomware and what should you do if you see your business attacked? What are the steps you need to do and how can you prevent another attack from hitting your business? Let’s talk all about that in this article.
Ransomware is a type of malware that does one thing – locks up your data in exchange for a ransom. It can do this in a lot of ways. The most common ones include encrypting all important data you have (from business files and documents to backups) and turning them into useless files. To decrypt the files, you need to pay a ransom. Payments are usually made using Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency so they don’t get traced. Another type of ransomware attack involves locking down a whole computer.
Whatever the method of operation, a ransomware attack keeps you away from your data. In a world that is driven by data, this can mean a few days to weeks of downtime for a small business. At its worst, this can force the business to close.
The ransom does not help either. While ransoms are lower for smaller businesses, statistics show that small and medium-sized businesses end up having financial trouble 6 months after paying a ransom. That is if the crooks even decide to give you the decryption key after paying the ransom.
Normally, you will have no inkling that you are under attack and you would just be surprised to see the ransom note on one of your computers. When this happens, you should follow this checklist step-by-step to limit the damage done by the malware.
Find out which devices have been compromised and attacked by the malware.
After you do, isolate them. If you see only one computer has the ransom note then you are lucky. Don’t be complacent though. If you see several devices within a system or subnet are affected, you can take them off the network by turning the switch off. As a rule of thumb, taking a network down is better than unplugging individual devices. However, if you can’t take the network down temporarily, you can unplug the ethernet cables from workstations or remove them from the Wifi network as soon as possible. Knowing the scope of the attack should be your priority so you know how big of a problem you have. Your next steps and solutions will depend on this first step. If you are prevented from disconnecting the device from the network, power them down. However, note that if you power your devices down you might lose potential evidence of the attack that will be useful for authorities.
Identify the infection
A majority, if not all, ransomware attacks come with a ransom note. This will give you a good idea of who attacked you and with what malware. You can also get evidence from the computer and use identification tools. By knowing who your enemy is, it will be easier for you to figure out how bad the attack is. Some attackers are worse than the others while some use an already decrypted type of malware.
Report to the authorities
While you identify the type of attack that was done to your system, you should inform the authorities of the attack. By now, the authorities already have some protocol in place when a business gets hit by a ransomware attack. Just note that there is a very small chance that they can get you your data back but with the authorities by your side, they can give you options on what you can do.
Triage the devices that got hit for recovery and restoration.
Now that you have identified which devices got hit by the malware, you should now triage or prioritize the devices that are critical for operations. Simply put, you need to consider fixing the workstations or devices with the most important data in them. You also need to know which devices are safe from the attack so you can prepare them for use so you won’t have to suffer from long downtimes.
Create a plan to prevent future attacks
Assuming you have recovered from an attack, your next step would be to create a plan to prevent a repeat of what happened. You need to figure out how the attack happened in the first place and what you can do to prevent a second attack from happening. If you want to be smart about it, this is the part where you hire an IT partner who can assist you in securing your network and other IT assets. With a good IT company as a partner, they can help you set up security protocols that will ensure your first attack will be your last.
If you haven’t had the chance to experience a ransomware attack then consider yourself one of the lucky few. But take note that statistics show that you will be attacked anytime soon. This is why you should consider beefing up your cybersecurity protocols so when a cybercriminal decides to attack you, they will see that you are prepared to take them on.
If you are looking for an IT support company that can help your company defend itself from a ransomware attack then Steadfast Solutions is your best bet. Steadfast Solutions has provided businesses in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, and across Australia unparalleled IT security services. We can provide everything from risk assessments, data protection, and cloud security. When you work with Steadfast Solutions, you know you are in good hands.
Contact us today and ask us how we can help you stay safe from a ransomware attack.