Ransomware is the greatest security threat to Canadian small businesses in the current IT landscape. According to the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre (CCIRC), consequences of ransomware include:
- Temporary or permanent loss of sensitive or proprietary information;
- Disruption to regular operations;
- Financial losses incurred to restore systems and files; and
- Potential harm to an organization’s reputation
The current generation of ransomware, when executed on a machine, encrypts hundreds of commonly used file types, such as Word Documents, Adobe PDF Files, Excel Spreadsheets, Quickbooks Files, and many others. It then offers you a chance to decrypt the files by paying an unspecified ransom, using Bitcoins, to an untraceable address, usually in Eastern Europe or Asia. Some are even programmed to destroy the decryption key after a few days.
As you can imagine, it is indeed a very serious issue, and one that makes many business owners lose sleep. Just in the last six months, we’ve had over a dozen businesses approach us to help them fight their ransomware infections, but the news is usually grim. Unlike most malware in the past decade or so, remediation and recovery from a ransomware infection is very difficult. Some variants have tools that enable the decryption of files, but most, including the infamous Locky variant, are currently impenetrable. If you haven’t taken proper steps, you’re looking at paying anywhere from €3,000 to €25,000 to have a chance at recovering your files!
While it’s a very serious problem, you can take three simple steps today to reduce your company’s risk:
Backup, backup, backup!
Far and away, the best prevention for any sort of disaster, be it a malware infection, or hardware failure, or even theft, is to have a reliable backup solution. Local storage solutions, such as USB drives, are a good start. However, they are vulnerable to infection. Backups to a server or a NAS are a better option, and they protect your data against most malware and hardware failures. Finally, if you want the ultimate backup solution, consider a reliable cloud backup.
Your “regular” antivirus is no longer sufficient protection against ransomware.
Several customers that were affected had fully updated antiviruses that are at least reasonable. They were running retail versions of Kaspersky, Norton, and even the built-in Windows Defender. While all of them protect against certain forms of ransomware, they will not save you from others. The best solution is to implement a comprehensive security solution that will protect you against suspicious behaviour, and not just against specific threats. As a Sophos Partner, Cat Digital Solutions has affordable security solutions that will actually intercept ransomware and stop it in its tracks, no matter what variant it is!
Install those system updates!
We know that System Updates can be quite annoying. They’ll install automatically, sometimes interrupting you in the middle of something important. However, many forms of malware take advantage of security holes in the operating system. It’s extremely important to always install the latest system updates, so don’t defer them!
And remember, the most cost-efficient way to implement any ransomware prevention solution is with professional assistance. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 604.256.1999 to learn how we can help you protect against ransomware!