Ransomware Attacks

Don’t let a ransomware attack ruin your business

Ransomware has become one of the most common and damaging forms of cyberattacks in recent years, affecting individuals, large and small businesses, and even entire governments.

Unfortunately, there is a pretty good chance you could become a victim of ransomware, even as an SMB and the last thing you want to do is chase after cyber criminals with a bag of cash, begging them to unlock your files.

Prevention in the form of cybersecurity is the key, but firstly, it’s good to know what you’re up against.

Ransomware means malicious software encrypts your files, and the hackers demand a payment in exchange for their releases. Many victims feel they have no option but to pay up or risk losing their data forever.

Here’s how it typically works:

The attacker gains access to the victim’s computer system, often through a phishing email or other social engineering attack.
Once the attacker has access, they install the ransomware program, which may be disguised as a legitimate file or application.
The ransomware program encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible to the user.
The attacker then demands payment, typically in cryptocurrency, for a decryption key to unlock the victim’s files.
If the victim pays the ransom, the attacker will typically provide the decryption key, allowing the victim to regain access to their files. However, there is no guarantee that the attacker will provide the decryption key even after receiving the ransom payment.

Taking proactive steps to fight against ransomware is the best defence, and it all begins with solid cybersecurity practices.

Begin with these basics recommended by both Synergy and Government experts:

Keep your devices updated

Make sure that your devices and software are updated regularly to patch known security weaknesses. These updates often contain security upgrades that can prevent cybercriminals from exploiting vulnerabilities. To stay protected, turn on automatic updates or update your system and applications whenever prompted.

Backup your data regularly

Back up customer information, financial records, and other crucial files to an external storage device or cloud service. Regularly checking and testing your backups can provide peace of mind in case of a ransomware attack. The best way to recover from an attack is to restore from an unaffected backup.

Control access to devices

Limiting who has access to your devices can help reduce the risk. This can be done by ensuring each user has the correct type of account, limiting privileges, and restricting unauthorised access.

Use anti-virus software

Protect your devices by using anti-virus software that can detect, prevent, and remove ransomware. The built-in Windows Security tool provides basic anti-virus protection if you’re using Microsoft Windows 10 or 11.

Enable ransomware protection

Some anti-virus tools, such as “controlled folder access” in Windows Security, offer ransomware protection. Ensure you enable this function to add an extra layer of protection to your devices.

Disable macros

Macros can be used to deliver ransomware to your device, so it’s best to disable them if you don’t need to use them. If you need to run them, consider restricting which macros can run and prevent them from running automatically.

Use multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Using MFA can make it harder for cybercriminals to gain access to your device, account, and information by adding extra layers of authentication. This can help prevent ransomware attacks and stop them from spreading if your account is compromised.

Use strong passphrases

Create strong, unique passphrases for your accounts and avoid using the same one for multiple accounts. This can help prevent ransomware attacks from spreading or compromising multiple accounts.

The Synergy team has dealt with countless ransomware and cyber attacks over the years. Please contact us to find out how we can help your business.

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