How can you protect your clients from crypto-ransomware?Here are some easy-to-apply rules to help keep your client’s data – and business operations – safe
Of all the various different types and families of ransomware, the most commonly-encountered is crypto-ransomware. Often referred to simply as ‘ransomware’, it refers to a form of malware where the files and data that are stored on the infected device are encrypted into an unreadable form. This means the data can only be retrieved by using the necessary decryption key, which the criminals then demand a ransom in exchange for.
Consumers affected by crypto-ransomware are usually faced with demands of £250 to £500, but ransom charges for businesses can be much higher as cybercriminals understand just how valuable an organisation’s data can be. If the ransom goes unpaid, the price will steadily increase until the decryption key is deleted, making it virtually impossible to recover the files. But even if a ransom is paid, there’s no guarantee the data will be decrypted.
A recent survey by Kaspersky Lab found that despite the increase in ransomware attacks, only 40% of companies consider ransomware to be a serious danger. This attitude can lead to security weaknesses that can be exploited by cybercriminals.
A temporary loss of data can disrupt business-critical processes, and could lead to lost sales, reduced productivity and significant costs for system recovery. However, the permanent loss of data can have much more severe consequences, from damaging the company’s competitive position to preventing access to intellectual property and design data.
In common with most other types of malware, there are many ways in which ransomware can find its way onto business computers and other devices.
As an MSP or an MSSP who has a number of businesses relying on you to protect them from cyber threats, here are some easy-to-apply rules to help keep your client’s data – and their business operations – safe.
People are often the most vulnerable element in any business. Teach clients about IT security basics, including raising awareness of phishing and spear-phishing attacks. Emphasize the security implications of opening suspicious-looking email attachments, even if it appears to be from a trusted source.
Regularly back up data:
Almost all businesses will already have data backup policies. However, it’s also essential to back up data onto an offline backup system, rather than just copying files to another ‘live’ system. Establishing a ‘back up and disconnect’ policy will help keep backup files safe from cryptors, and will prevent a successful attack on one business from disrupting other clients, as well as making it quick and easy to get your client’s business back up and running.
Protect all devices and systems:
Crypto-ransomware doesn’t just attack PCs. Business security software must also be able to protect Mac computers, virtual machines and mobile devices, and this is an ideal opportunity for MSPs to add value and protection through layered security. It is also worth ensuring there is sufficient protection installed on your client’s email system.
Deploy and maintain security software:
As with all malware prevention, updating early and often is a valuable policy to follow. Updating all applications and operating systems will allow elimination of newly discovered vulnerabilities, and ensuring security applications and anti-malware databases are up-to-date will ensure your client’s business benefits from the latest protection.