How Ransomware Is A Big Problem For Small Business
Ransomware has proven to be a huge problem across the world. Why does the ransomware problem continue to grow worse, year after year? Read more here!
Ransomware has proven to be a huge problem across the world. Individuals, private organizations, companies, and even government agencies have fallen victim to this insidious type of scheme. Why does the ransomware problem continue to grow worse, year after year? The answer is simple: Criminals use this type of attack because it often works. Any successful tactic is bound to be repeated, and this is no exception. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable, as they do not have the resources to absorb the massive losses that can come from a ransomware incident.
What Is Ransomware?
In case you don’t know what we are talking about, ransomware is a type of malware. It uses complex encryption to lock the victim’s computer, denying them access. When the victim attempts to use their device and/or network, they are greeted with a ransom demand. The exact amount of the ransom demand will vary depending on what they think they can realistically obtain. Needless to say, there is no guarantee that such people will keep their word and restore access once payment is made. There are many variants of ransomware, with some being more dangerous than others.
Most Small Businesses Are Unprepared
When it comes to small businesses, there is a particular problem here. Most small businesses do not take adequate precautions against cyber-attack, and this fact has obviously become well-known. Besides, many of these companies are operating on a tight budget and cybersecurity might not seem like a top priority. People often assume that cyber-attackers are not going to bother with small targets, but this is not the case.
Like all criminals, ransomware hackers look for easy targets. Large corporations can afford the best cybersecurity, so they aren’t easy targets. This might be why over half of all ransomware victims are small businesses. According to statements made before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, about 51% of small businesses have no cybersecurity resources whatsoever. When taken in context, this fact explains the continued growth of the ransomware problem.
The Size Of The Problem
With all this talk about losses, you may be wondering about the exact size of those losses. According to these statistics from the FBI, ransomware caused losses of about 29 million dollars in 2021 alone. That 29 million was spread out amongst 2,474 incidents. With a little math, we can see that the average ransomware incident will cost about $11,721.
Larger companies can absorb those kinds of costs, but smaller businesses usually cannot. It is worth noting that 60% of all small businesses that suffer a cyber-attack will go out of business within six months. This figure also applies to mid-sized businesses. To make a long story short, ransomware is a bigger problem for smaller companies because they are far less likely to survive such an attack.
How To Be Prepared For A Ransomware Attack
As we have already seen, most small businesses are totally unprepared for a major ransomware attack. However, it isn’t all that difficult to get prepared. Ransomware attackers look for targets that present as little risk to themselves as possible. Let’s talk about some of the things that you can do to protect yourself from these attacks.
The most important thing is to back up your crucial data regularly. You can create a “system image” file to save the current state of any particular device (including servers). Thus, if you have to wipe the drive, your data will not be lost. Of course, you need to back up your data every day in order to make sure nothing of significance is lost.
Wiping the drives is indeed your only good option. Paying the ransomware attackers is highly unpredictable, as they are under no obligation to restore access. Besides, you don’t want to encourage this sort of criminal behavior or give them more resources. Thus, you have to just delete everything, including the ransomware. Yes, there will be some downtime as you restore your system from backups. However, this is much better than the alternatives and your losses will be minimized.
Network monitoring is another important component of ransomware preparedness. This kind of attack requires a lot of set-up work. Before the malware can encrypt your computer, it must first be downloaded, installed, and given privileged access. Network monitoring is the surest way to detect an attack in its early stages. This is best handled by a third-party company, as it requires 24/7 attention.
Keeping all your software and hardware updated is also very important. When vulnerabilities are discovered, tech companies will normally issue a security “patch” to close the loophole. This prevents your software or hardware from becoming compromised by any publicly-known vulnerability.
Finally, we come to the importance of education. Most cyber-attacks begin with some sort of con job. To get that initial “foot in the door,” criminals will generally need to trick someone into giving them privileged information or access. Not surprisingly, they use all sorts of tricks to do this. That’s why you keep getting those annoying phone calls about your vehicle’s extended warranty: Most of those will attempt to trick you into giving credit card or bank account information. Attacks like these are designed to prey upon the unwary, and that is where awareness training can make a difference.
Third-party services like ours are ideal for ransomware preparedness. We can store your backups in a secure manner, making sure that they will be available when needed. If you store your backups on-site, it is possible that an attacker could target them as well. In fact, some newer ransomware variants are designed to do exactly that. We can also help with remote monitoring services, allowing for vigilant surveillance at all times. If you are in the New Jersey area and you are asking yourself: “Where can I find small business IT support services near me?”, then the answer is PCH Technologies. If you would like to know more, you can call (856) 754-7500.