You’ve probably been hearing a lot more about ransomware lately, and it’s not just media hype bringing it to your attention. Ransomware attacks are on the rise right now and businesses are right to be concerned about protecting themselves. Our recent TNTV Alerts video provides the gritty details of a recent high-profile ransomware attack in Riviera Beach, Florida. Todd Budde, ThrottleNet’s Director of Managed Services, shared his tips for protecting your business from this very real and serious security threat.
Ransomware is exactly what it sounds like: malicious software that locks you out of your computer system or data until a ransom is paid. A ransomware attack is an attempt to spread this malicious software onto your computer system or data files.
Ransomware is usually spread through phishing emails or picked up when a user unknowingly visits an infected website. The user visits a site, clicks a link, or downloads a file and the software goes to work encrypting files and locking you out.
Here’s how it happened in Riviera Beach, Florida:
An employee of police department unwittingly opened up a phishing email and clicked malicious link. Malware was installed and began encrypting the city’s files. It ended up locking up all their files and leaving the city without file access or email for weeks. That’s right, WEEKS.
Details may vary, but Riviera Beach’s story is typical of most ransomware attacks.
How Much Money Do Ransomware Attackers Demand?
The amount of the ransomware demand varies, but it can be a significant amount. In the case of Riviera Beach, FL, the city’s files and email system were held at ransom for 65 Bitcoins, or about $600,000. Ultimately, the city paid the price to restore their networks.
A similar attack hit the city of Baltimore recently to the tune of over $18 million in damages.
It is common for attackers to demand their payment in Bitcoin or a similar form of cryptocurrency. Some attackers start with a lower demand and raise the price once they get things fully locked, captured data is evaluated, and contact is established with their victims.
Ransomware is a legitimate risk for anyone with a computer and data they want keep accessible and secure. Individuals, businesses, organizations, and even governments are vulnerable to ransomware attacks.
“It is the users on your network that are the weakest link in security.” Todd Budde, Director of Managed Services, ThrottleNet
Protecting your business from ransomware involves two key elements: solutions and people.
First, you need to make sure you have security solutions in place and are using them properly. This includes tools that can identify attacks when they occur, DNS filtering to prevent your employees from visiting malicious websites, and tools to isolate devices that have been attacked to ensure the malware doesn’t continue to propagate across the entire network.
Even the best solutions, however, have one key vulnerability – people. Companies absolutely MUST train their employees on how to avoid, identify, and properly handle attempted ransomware attacks. Ongoing training is the key to avoiding an attack.
ThrottleNet can train your team and have you prepared to prevent ransomware or phishing attacks. We can teach people what to look out for, and even has tools that can simulate an attack and report back about which users might need further training.
If you’d like more information about preventing and protecting your business from ransomware and phishing attacks, get started with a free “Phish Bait” vulnerability audit from ThrottleNet. We are an award-winning Managed Service Provider for businesses in St. Louis, Washington County, MO and surrounding areas. We can help you identify your technology weaknesses before hackers do and teach you how to protect yourself from ransomware.
12970 Maurer Industrial Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63127