Don't Become a Ransomware Victim

Posted on March 28, 2019

Online threats are on the rise! From viruses and malware to doxing and identity theft, engaging in online business has become as dangerous as taking a stroll through a rough neighborhood with hundred-dollar bills sticking out of your pocket. The biggest threat, however, combines all of the above with a particularly sinister motive – ransomware.

Ransomware pertains to the use of malicious software that collects, steals, or blocks access to an individual or business’ vital data unless a ransom is paid to the perpetrator. Such attacks can have devastating consequences that have far-reaching effects and scope. A few short months ago, for instance, the East Ohio Regional Hospital in Harper's Ferry, Ohio and the Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling, West Virginia both fell victim to ransomware attacks that compromised emergency room access and ambulance distribution as reported by Forbes.

On a larger scale was the notorious 2018 Atlanta cyberattack which crippled the city for five days under the demand of a $51,000 ransom. The attack grounded all municipal services and transportation and destroyed a year’s worth of government data. By the end of the fifth day, the total cost of recovery exceeded an estimated $17 million.

According to Datto’s State of the Channel Ransomware Report, the threat to small-to-mid-sized businesses (SMBs) is on the rise with 79% of managed service providers (MSPs) reporting ransomware attacks between Q2 2016 and Q2 2018. 55% of the attacks occurred within the first half of 2018 alone! The greatest danger, however, is in the general lack of education or awareness over attack vulnerability.

Alarmingly, it is estimated that only 1 in 5 businesses actually report these incursions to authorities indicating that the problem may be more severe than projected. Michael Drake, CEO of master IT, warns, “The number one threat for SMB CEOs is thinking they are immune for some reason. They think they don’t have anything the hackers want because it’s not worth the price to protect themselves. Until something happens, then they’re shocked by the cost to get everything back up and running. It’s mind blowing.”

Of course, most law enforcement officials would warn to never settle or give in to a ransom but what steps should be taken to protect oneself or a business from being susceptible to ransomware and what can be done when the threat is imminent? Unfortunately, there is no single solution that can guarantee a safe space but there are multiple protections and practices available to erect a strong defense such as a business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan to target vulnerabilities and line up restoration routes. Additionally, a dedicated cyber security professional can serve as an ideal field general coupled with comprehensive education and training to safeguard a business on a broader scale.

To learn more about how to take the necessary steps to prepare and protect yourself or your business from the threat of ransomware, please contact BlueTie today and ask about a FREE trial at 1-800-BLUE-TIE or go to www.bluetie.com.

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