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Ransomware Risk is Exploding– How to Protect Your Business (pt 1 of 3)

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Ransomware. It's one of the fastest growing threats to your business, whether yours is a large organization or a small firm. Here at Tolar Systems we’ve recently seen an increase in the frequency and severity of these kinds of attacks. We’re working hard to help reduce our clients’ vulnerability, but we can’t do it alone. That is why we want to share information about ransomware risk and how to protect your business from this ever-growing threat.

Learn more from Tolar Systems.

Ransomware. It’s one of the fastest growing threats to your business, whether yours is a large organization or a small firm. Here at Tolar Systems we’ve seen an increase in the frequency and severity of these kinds of attacks and we’re working hard to help reduce our clients’ vulnerability. But we can’t do it alone. That is why we'll be sharing a series of articles over the next few weeks about ransomware, the risks it presents to your business and what you can do to reduce that risk. 

Tolar Systems wants you to understand how to protect your business from this ever-growing threat. Together, we can prevent ransomware from impacting your business.

Ransomware: What is It?

Ransomware is a specific form of cybercrime that involves a criminal gaining access to your device or network, encrypting your data, and demanding that a ransomware be paid in order to de-crypt that data. There are two varieties of ransomware that are commonly deployed against individuals and businesses.

ransomware screen

  • One, called locker ransomware, encrypts your entire hard drive and locks you out of the system.
  • The other, called crypto ransomware, encrypts specific important files.

Regardless of the type of ransomware attack that is deployed, ransomware is a growing problem with the ability to bring your business to a standstill unless you protect yourself.

Why Ransomware is a Growing Threat

By 2019, it’s estimated that ransomware will attack a business every 14 seconds; the resulting damages is projected to top 11 billion dollars. That’s 30 times more than the $325 million that ransomware cost businesses in 2015.

Why is ransomware spreading so rapidly? Here are a few reasons:

  1. Ransomware-as-a-Service. Ransomware applications like CryptoLocker are now available as a cloud-based service, making it possible even for criminals without significant technical skills to deploy the applications to harm your business.
  2. Organized cybercrime. No longer is cybercrime committed mainly by the stereotypical disgruntled hacker. Today, ransomware attacks are more often committed by professional criminals, often linked to organized crime. Their motivation is to collect as many ransoms as possible, without regard to business size, location, or industry.
  3. Device proliferation. Today, accessing the Internet via mobile and IOT-connected devices is becoming the norm for businesses and individuals. In 2015, there were 3.47 internet-connected devices per person. By 2020, that number is projected to more than double, creating double the opportunity for cybercriminals. Every one of these devices – whether it’s a mobile phone, net connected printer, fax machine or camera, Smart TV or coffeemaker – creates a vector that can allow cybercriminals to infiltrate your network unless appropriate precautions are taken.
  4. Social engineering. Ransomware’s rapid proliferation is also due in part to the rise in social engineering. More than 96 percent of ransomware attacks are spread via email, relying on users to open files or links. Cybercriminals have become experts at gathering information so that they can pose as someone we trust. This increases the likelihood that users will open emails that they otherwise might find suspicious. This makes user education an important part of the equation when it comes to preventing ransomware attacks.
  5. Lack of preparation. Many businesses are aware of the threat but unsure what to do about it: according to a recent survey, 66 percent of small and midsize businesses understand that ransomware presents a "very serious" threat to their business. However, more than half believed their businesses were too small to be targeted, and only 13 percent rated their ransomware preparedness as high.

Because of these factors, ransomware is no longer limited to targeting large enterprises with deep pockets or individual users with undefended networks. Ransomware attacks are also targeting small and mid-size businesses with greater frequency - and that means you could be next.

Now that you understand some of the basics of ransomware, next time we'll talk about security recommendations that can help to defend your business against it.

Tolar Systems Can Help

It’s not a matter of if your business will be attacked, but when. Here at Tolar Systems, we’re committed to helping our clients stay at the forefront of ransomware prevention and combating cybercrime. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you keep your business safe.

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