What to Do If Your Business Is Attacked With Ransomware

Ransomware

Ransomware has become the single largest cyber threat to small businesses. And it’s the ultimate nightmare scenario.

Imagine you’re responding to some emails when suddenly your screen goes black. A few moments later, a message appears saying your computer has been locked. The only way to unlock it? Pay a hefty ransom and a myriad of other costs associated with the breach.

The total costs are often too much for a small business to handle.

According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, 60% of companies go out of business within six months of a data breach.

Unfortunately, cybercrime isn’t going anywhere. It’s time to get educated and make the choices that could save your business.

Ransomware
Ransom demands are steadily rising, and they’re just part of the total costs of an infiltration. | Source: Twitter

How You Should Respond to a Ransomware Attack

It’s easy to panic when you first learn you’ve been hacked with ransomware. People will often rush into a decision to pay the ransom, especially when the hackers are putting pressure on them.

But it’s not always the right choice. Remember, these cybercriminals don’t play by your rules. And there’s a certain amount of trust involved when paying a ransom. How do you know they will actually restore your data? Oftentimes, once the hackers know you’ll pay, they’ll raise the price even more. On top of that, they’ll be encouraged that their tactics worked.

While the best offense against a hacker is a good defense (which we’ll discuss later), small businesses are usually unprepared. A 2019 Accenture study found that a mere 14% of small businesses were prepared to protect themselves against cybercriminals.

Here are some basic steps you should take if you find yourself in the unenviable position of being hacked:

  • Contact the authorities

Immediately contact your local authorities. If your business is based in the United States, you should also contact your local FBI field office, which can be found here.

  • Isolate the infected computer

If only one device were initially compromised, you should immediately quarantine that computer. Disconnect it from the network to ensure the ransomware can’t spread to other devices.

Check out this video detailing a ransomware attack against a hospital:

Ransomware attack takes down LA hospital for hours
  • Inform necessary parties

If customers are affected by the hack, you’ll need to inform them of the situation and let them know of any steps they need to take. Be sure to make your employees aware of the breach as well.

  • Contact an expert

Occasionally, a cybersecurity expert will be able to unlock your data without communicating with the hacker. In any case, you’ll want someone to run a forensic audit to determine how the hacker gained access. Hacked.com can provide these services.

How to Protect Your Business Against Ransomware Attacks

Without question, we’ve entered an era where small businesses need to be proactive against cybercrime. A little protection and preparation can go a long way when it comes to saving your business. Here are some key decisions you can make to avoid a catastrophe:

  • Invest in cybersecurity software

Every business should invest in firewalls, anti-virus and anti-malware software, and email security solutions. These are the basic first lines of defense against hackers.

  • Consult with experts

Be proactive when seeking the advice of cybersecurity experts. Book a consultation with one, so you can tailor your protection to the specific needs of your business. Contact an expert at Hacked.com to start the conversation today.

  • Backup Your Data

Always backup your data outside of your network. That way, if your network is compromised, you’ll still have access to your valuable data.

Here’s a video from the FTC on how to protect yourself:

Ransomware - Cybersecurity for Small Business | Federal Trade Commission
  • Keep your systems updated

Be diligent about updating the systems that run on your network.  Whether it’s your web browser, your anti-virus software, or your email service, these programs often issue patches to vulnerabilities in their updates. Hackers are constantly searching for people who ignore these updates.

  • Consider cyber liability insurance

A great way to mitigate the enormous costs of getting hacked is to invest in cyber liability insurance. This insurance can cover ransom demands, costs of hiring experts, and audit costs, among other things.

  • Train your employees

One of the most common ways hackers can gain access to your network is through human error. Phishing and social engineering are far easier and far more common than directly hacking into a network. Invest in training that can prepare your employees to spot a phishing email from a mile. Again, Hacked.com provides these services.

  • Have a plan

While fortifying your cyber protection will deter most hackers, a breach could still happen if they’re determined enough. Make sure you have a plan in place, so you don’t panic and make bad choices. Build an effective response plan when you talk to your cybersecurity expert.

At hacked.com, we offer comprehensive protection plans which are perfect for your small business.

Each protection plan comes with a free consultation to help tailor our packages to suit your needs. If you have any questions about your small business’ cybersecurity, contact us at [email protected] or book a free consultation call today.

Featured image by supimol kumying from Shutterstock.com

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