6 Easy Prevention Strategies to Stop CyberCriminals
Cybercriminals have begun attacking businesses to make them pay. They are using a technique called ransomware, holding your business for ransom.
Ransomware is code that, once downloaded, blocks users from accessing their own data. The data is encrypted with only the hacker having the key to unlocking it.
The purpose of ransomware- to disrupt business and make money.
There are many different variations of ransomware, but the premise is the same, pay or lose your data forever. Some ransomware will claim you have done something illegal with your computer. Then ask for money while posing as the police or a government agency.
Other ransomware will suggest you purchase their antivirus software. When you buy their product and download it, they embed the ransomware code.
Cybercriminals use ransomware as a scare tactic to make you pay money. However, there is no guarantee that paying the fine, or doing what they tell you, will give you access to your computer or files.
Follow these 6 prevention strategies to keep you and you business safe
Use a Firewall and Antivirus Software
Firewalls prevent unwanted intrusions that come from the internet to your computer. Connect your firewall manually from the Control Panel. Use this in-depth guide to installing a firewall.
For more protection install antivirus software. Caution- fake antivirus software exists (often how cybercriminals trick you), so make sure the software is from a reputable company.
Back up your files often to an external hard drive or have a backup system either in the cloud where hackers cannot access it. Companies should keep at least one set of backups offsite.
Enable Pop-Up Blocker
Pop-ups are the primary tactic used, so simply avoid accidentally clicking on one by turning them off. If a pop-up appears, click on the X in the right-hand corner. Criminals reprogram buttons on pop-up messages, so never click on them.
Don’t click on links or attachments inside emails and avoid suspicious websites. If your PC does come under attack, use another computer to research the details about the attack. Beware hackers also create fake websites to tout their own fake antivirus software or de-encryption programs.
Disconnect from the Internet
If you receive ransomware, immediately disconnect from the internet so your data is not transmitted. Shut down the computer.
Speak with all staff members about the importance of not clicking on pop-ups, viewing suspicious websites, or opening links in emails. About 93% of phishing emails are ransomware. If an individual is uncertain, use caution, and do not click. Notify an IT Director or managed service provider. It is better to overly cautious than careless.
If you install ransomware alert an authority immediately. Call your IT Director or managed service provider. Ransomware is a serious form of extortion. In some cases, the local FBI must get involved.
Do not pay the ransom, they will further extort you. They may not release your information, either.
Cyber criminals are lurking so take precautions to protect your information. Educate staff and stay vigilant.