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Ransom: a sum of money is demanded in order for the release of goods.
Software: the programs and other operating information used by a computer.
What do you get when you combine the two? Ransomware.
Ransomware is a form of a cyberattack in which a cybercriminal encrypts some of the files your business has stored on network-attached drives. Cybercriminals use phishing attacks or other methods to leverage encryption of your business’ devices, and potentially the rest of your network. Ransomware has proven effective over the years due many businesses fulfilling the demands of these cybercriminals - payment.
Ransomware could affect anybody, but cybercriminals have acquired experience over the years. They are learning who to target, and who is willing to pay a sum of money to acquire their own documents, devices, and servers back. The target of choice? Municipalities.
While the number of ransomware infections has decreased, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has stated that the damages experienced by these infections has risen. This is partly due to the fact that entire cities can essentially be shut down by these cybercriminals. Cities such as Lake City and the City of Riviera Beach, felt as though they had no other option than to pay ransom. Indiana’s LaPorte county paid a ransom of roughly $130,000 in early 2019.
Since cybercriminals have been strategically targeting municipalities, insurance is offered to cover such attacks. Since insurance is offered to cover these attacks, cybercriminals have been more strategically targeting municipalities. This is a chaotic snowball effect which does not show signs it will be slowing in the near future. The best way to prevent your business from being rolled into this chaotic era of cyberattacks is by being prepared.
Minimizing the risk of your data being lost to a ransomware attack, starts with a backup plan. Up-to-date backups of your data should be kept isolated, ensuring a cybercriminal cannot gain access. These backups must also be thoroughly tested. The only thing worse than finding out your business has been affected by a ransomware attack, is finding out your business has been affected by a ransomware attack and your backup has failed.
Education is another key element in preparing for a ransomware attack. Employees must be trained to spot phishy emails to ensure cybercriminals are not able to penetrate your security layers and encrypt your computer, or your server.
For more help and assistance defending against ransomware, reach out to your local experts at KT Connections by calling 605-341-3873 today.
Rodd Ahrenstorff is the Director of Business Operations for KT Connections, as well as a member of the company’s ownership team starting in 2014. Rodd has been working in the computer and telecommunication fields for over twenty years—a term during which he has held a number of leadership positions. In the past, he has served as a broadcast television engineer, an systems architect, and most recently Director of Information Technology, including a role as a HIPAA Security Officer for behavioral health and multi-specialty medical providers.