A recent study by UpCity found that only 50% of U.S. businesses have a cybersecurity plan in place and of those, 32% haven’t changed their cybersecurity plan since the pandemic forced business to adopt remote and hybrid operations.
Truth is, at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, most businesses intensified their online activities. Plus, remote working became the new norm, giving hackers more opportunities to attack.
“In 2021, the average number of cyberattacks and data breaches increased by 15.1%”
Today, organizations continue to depend heavily on the internet. That said, many of these businesses are losing millions of dollars annually as hackers devise new attack techniques.
Is your business ready for a ransomware attack? What can you do to protect your business? Let’s dig deeper into these questions.
But first, here’s how hackers use ransomware attacks to extort money from their victims.
How Hackers Use Ransomware Attacks
For many years, hackers have been using phishing emails to infiltrate companies’ servers. An unsuspecting employee clicks on the phishing link, which installs malware to the system, giving access to the criminals.
Next thing, the hackers encrypt the company’s data, making it inaccessible. The malicious actors then force the company to pay a ransom using bitcoins in exchange for the decryption key. If the company complies, the hackers provide the key. But if the victim refuses to pay, the attackers start issuing threats.
For instance, they can threaten to publish confidential information about the company on the dark web or the wall of shame. If this information goes to the public, it can harm the company in many ways, including loss of brand reputation.
What You Should Do If You Get Attacked
After gaining access to a company’s server, hackers create a sense of urgency to force you to pay immediately. Don’t pay a ransom right away. First, check whether the threat is real. Do they have access to the server, or is it an empty threat?
Let’s say they do have access to the server, do you have backup of critical information? If yes, the threat may not be serious. However, buy some time as you figure out what to do.
Involve senior management, the legal department, and the authorities. Compare the consequences of paying the ransom and not paying it before making the final decision.
How to Reduce the Risk of Cyberattacks
Cyberattacks are inevitable for many businesses. Have a well-written response plan in case an attack occurs. Some of the strategies that can help reduce the risk include:
- Creating frequent backups for sensitive data
- Taking a cyber insurance policy
- Using multi-factor authentication in all company accounts
- Training your employees on safe practices when working online
As cybercrime continues to increase, the question is not whether hackers will attack you but when they’ll do it. They can strike when you least expect them. Being prepared in advance is critical to surviving an attack.
Applied Computer Technologies (ACT) is a full-service IT provider, specializing in Reinsurance and Finance. Services include Cloud Services, IT Services and Support, Microsoft 365 and Azure Services, Business Continuity, Telephony and Virtual CIO Services. ACT has locations in Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Canada, with customers worldwide.