How to Protect Your Business From Ransomware

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Hackers are increasingly pushing Ransomware into the public eye. Over the past year, various groups have been responsible for some high-profile ransomware attacks against numerous companies. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know what to do about the influx of ransomware if you’re a business owner. This article will teach you exactly what to do to protect your business from ransomware.

What is Ransomware?

Definition of Ransomware
You must make yourself familiar with these terms to aid in your cybersecurity. | Source: Hacked/W.S.Worall

The term ransomware refers to a type of malware that hackers use to hold a system hostage. Hackers will usually install this software without the system owner’s knowledge or permission. Once installed, the software prevents the user from accessing any of their documents or programs.

Typically, ransomware also comes with a ransom demand in bitcoin or some other hard-to-trace transaction. Hackers will promise to return access to the system if the victim pays the ransom, but they don’t always follow through.

Some big examples of ransomware include programs like WannaCry. WannaCry was a type of ransomware that managed to lock up more than 300,000 computers in early 2017. This particular piece of ransomware caused nearly a billion dollars worth of damage.

How to Protect Your Business From Ransomware

While you may feel helpless against Ransomware, there is plenty you can do to keep your business and employees safe.

Educate Your Employees

One of the most important elements of any business’s cybersecurity is its employees. If your employees are using good cybersecurity practices, then they’re less likely to fall for the sort of attack that would end with ransomware installed on your system.

We offer a comprehensive guide to educating your employees for better cybersecurity. You may even want to consider getting your employees to run through our free courses.

Practise E-Mail Safety

The most common entry point for ransomware is phishing emails. Hackers will send messages that claim to contain a legitimate attachment to fool the victim into downloading. Once downloaded, these files can install themselves onto the victim’s system and lock up all their files.

Make sure that you never open a suspicious email, especially when attachments accompany them.

Don’t Allow Downloading from Untrustworthy Websites

Another way that hackers sneak ransomware onto a system is through illicit downloads. Many hackers will upload their ransomware onto websites claiming to be sought-after programs or video files. Once downloaded, these files can install malware like ransomware onto your system.

Browsers like Google Chrome allow you to block all downloads by following the instructions on Google’s website.

Keep Software as up-to-Date as Possible.

Updating Against Ransomware
Keeping your software as up-to-date as possible is important for safety against new ransomware programs. | Source: Hacked/W.S.Worrall

Buying and using good security software is important to avoid hackers targeting you. However, you must keep all of your software, even non-security software, as up-to-date as possible.

Vulnerabilities in all kinds of software can help hackers to break into your system and install malware. As developers discover these vulnerabilities, they release updates that patch them out and make the software more secure. Therefore, you should ensure that you’re regularly checking for updates on all your software and installing them to keep your system secure.

Use a VPN

While a VPN won’t directly protect your business from ransomware, making your connections more secure could prevent attacks. Hackers will sometimes skim your data through unsecured connections and then use this data to access your system.

Using a reputable VPN service adds an extra layer of encryption to your internet connection. With this extra security, it’s much harder for hackers to skim your data, making you much less of a target.

Be Careful What You Post

Similar to data skimming, hackers can use information you’ve posted online against you. Whether it’s learning answers to security questions or just gathering personal data to pose as you to customer support, the data you post onto social media can be harmful.

Whether you’re on a social media service as your business or yourself, be careful what you post. Before posting anything, think about what sort of data you could be revealing. For example, holiday photos could reveal when you’re away from your business, and too many details about your life could make impersonating you easier. Try to limit your posts online if you want to keep your business as secure as possible.

Stay Informed on Breaches and Attacks

List of Breaches
Keep yourself informed on all major security breaches. | Source: haveibeenpwned

A great way to keep your business safe from ransomware is to get updated on attacks when they happen. Sites like haveibeenpwned offer features such as RSS feeds that update you whenever a major attack or data breach occurs. You can also set up alerts on news apps to follow words like ‘ransomware’ and ‘cyberattack’ so you always know when a new type of ransomware has been invented.

Other Steps You Can Take

If you find you’ve been the victim of a ransomware attack, don’t panic. We provide a comprehensive guide on how best to respond to a ransomware attack.

One of the best things you can do to aid your online safety is to invest in a Hacked protection plan for your business. We offer comprehensive plans to help your business stay safe from cybercriminals and hackers. We also offer individual protection plans to protect your social media accounts.

Schedule a free call with our team today to discuss a business plan that is right for you and your business. Then, visit our business protection plan page for more information.

Featured image by Andrey_Popov from