Data Backup Is an Extremely Effective Counter to Ransomware

When you hear the word “ransom” what do you think of?

If you're like me, you flashback to any of a dozen movie scenes. There's a worried spouse holding a ransom note. Surrounded by police, the phone call comes in. Immediately, the trace attempt begins and the worried husband tries to keep the kidnappers on the line, but to no avail. The kidnappers want their million dollars by noon tomorrow or the wife will never be seen again.

Then, depending on the movie, cue the slapstick comedy (Ruthless People, The Big Lebowski) or the taut action movie (Ransom).

While entertaining in a movie, ransoms also happen in real life

Data backup is a great defense against ransomware

Today, when security professionals hear “ransom,” they immediately think of ransomware. Instead of never seeing your spouse again though, it's your information these criminals kidnap.

Ransomware is malware that encrypts and locks you out of your data. Phishing emails or visits to an infected website are how most businesses are infected. Once ransomware gains access to your data, you have to pay – usually through a digital service like bitcoin – to regain control of your data.

If you delete the malware, you delete your information.

Once infected, there are two choices – lose your information or pay the ransom. Fortunately, there's a well-known business best practice to protect yourself: data backup.

Ransomware Threat Keeps Growing

A business falls victim to a ransomware attack ever 40 seconds. By 2019, ransomware attacks on business will happen every 14 seconds. Damage from those ransomware attacks is predicted to reach $11.5 billion by 2019 (Cybersecurity Ventures).

It's a trend that's not going away. Malwarebytes research indicates that about 60% of malware payloads in the first quarter of 2017 contained ransomware.

The FBI estimates that over $5 billion in ransom was paid in 2017 (though it's probably more because the crime is under-reported).

ransomware attacks continue to accelerate

Ransomware = Easy Money

Cybercriminals like easy money, which is why they like ransomware. You can even be a lazy cybercriminal and buy a ransomware kit off of the dark web (it exists). That's right, there's ransomware-as-a-service.

In 2016, 64% of U.S. Businesses paid ransom “requests.” The average ransom is $1,077 per attack in 2016, up from $264 in 2015 (from the Symantec 2017 Internet Security Threat Report).

Note that relatively small average size of the ransom. While the size of ransoms have increased as cybercriminals have shifted from individuals to business, they're going after smaller businesses. While the rewards are more lucrative from larger companies, it's simply easier for low-skill hackers to target companies more likely to have weaker network security in place.

Think about your critical business documents. What would you do if you suddenly couldn't access them and received a ransom note for $2,000?

FREE eBOOK! 6 Cybersecurity Trends Every SMB Must Know. Get It Now >>

Avoid Ransomware

One of the best protections from susceptibility to ransomware is also a business best practice – backup your data.

A good backup strategy will mean your data is backed up at regular intervals (and not on network drives, which are easily accessible to ransomware once the virus gets into your system).

Ransomware can be avoided with good employee training and a data backup plan

Depending on your business, there will be a balancing act between cost and security. More frequent backups will cost more, but limit data loss. Less frequent backups expose you to more lost data.

A managed IT partner can work with you as a trusted advisor to identify the perfect mix of frequency, security, and cost.

Regardless, when you have a good data backup solution in place, you can wad that ransom note up and throw it away. Restore your data from backup and you'll be back in business quickly, with minimal disruption.

While you may lose a day's worth of new data or an hour (depending on the frequency of your backups), you'll always be able to restore your data so you won't be held up for ransom.

Kill two birds with one stone, invest in data backup – even if you're never attacked by a ransomware virus, data backup will allow you to maintain access to your critical business information in the case of disaster or employee mistake that deletes information accidentally.

It's past time for you to take security seriously. Are you ready to focus on securing our vital information, but not sure where to start? Our IT pros are ready to help. Contact us today to schedule a free IT assessment.

Categories: Security, Office Hacks, Cloud, Managed Services

blogs related to this

What Are the Costs of a Ransomware Attack on Your Business?

What Are the Costs of a Ransomware Attack on Your Business?

In today's hyper-connected world, cybersecurity is critical for business relevance. In the current threat landscape, cybercrime is prevalent, and...

How to Train Employees to Avoid Malware & Ransomware Attacks?

How to Train Employees to Avoid Malware & Ransomware Attacks?

A cyberattack can have devastating consequences. Large corporations or even individuals can experience far-reaching consequences and be hit with...

What is Cloud SIEM?

What is Cloud SIEM?

With the rapidly rising adoption of cloud technologies and the rise in cyber threats, it has become crucial for organizations to secure their cloud...

DNS Hijacking: What it is and How to Protect Your Business

DNS Hijacking: What it is and How to Protect Your Business

A Domain Name System (DNS) is essential to all companies that depend on the internet to generate sales—it is a crucial element to the performance and...

How to Develop a Cybersecurity Strategy

How to Develop a Cybersecurity Strategy

Cybersecurity is perhaps the highest priority for most businesses around the world. That’s primarily because more and more businesses are moving to...

Emerging Technology Trends You Need to Know in 2023

Emerging Technology Trends You Need to Know in 2023

The frequency of emerging technology trends has been increasing at a rate that’s hard to fathom. In the past, new technologies may have arisen every...

Top 5 Cybersecurity Strategy Tips For 2023

Top 5 Cybersecurity Strategy Tips For 2023

Risk assessments and security solutions must support enterprise strategic objectives in 2023. This essentially translates into prioritizing its...