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Don’t let your small business be held for ransom!

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, your small business is like a member of your family. You love it, you work hard for it, and you want to protect it. Unfortunately, hackers love the idea of entrepreneurship too, and they would love nothing more than to hold your small business hostage. 

In today’s blog, we are going to answer small business owners’ most commonly asked questions about ransomware. 

  1. What is ransomware? It’s a malware that encrypts your company files. In order to get access to your information again, hackers ask for a fee in return for a key code that unlocks the stolen information. 
  1. How much can ransomware cost a small business? It can cost a small business anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. 
  1. Do criminals accept credit card payments? No, but they do accept bitcoin.
  1. How exactly does ransomware work? There are a number of ways that ransomware can hit your computer, but these are a few common ways: 
    1. Phishing – A file is sent to your email or found on the web acting like a file you can trust. 
    2. Social Engineering – Bad actors use various types of communication such as email or phone calls to convince a computer user into providing access to their system.
    3. Malware – No tricking necessary with this software – it just needs weak security features on a computer.
  1. How will you know if you have a computer that has been attacked by ransomware? 
    1. Usually, the end-user gets a pop-up message when they try to open an encrypted file on their screen, which states that the mathematical key won’t be released until they send untraceable bitcoin.
    2. Doxware – A ransomware software that holds sensitive data hostage. The bad actors threaten to release sensitive data, photos or conversations unless the ransom is paid.
  1. Why would they choose your small business to attack? The short answer: opportunity. 
    1. Small Security Teams – Hackers look for small businesses that either can’t afford or refuse to pay for “big” security.  
    2. Quick payment – Depending on the field you are in, you may not want sensitive data out there long, or you can not do your work without the data. Either way, you are more of a target. 
    3. Opportunity – Ransomware can be automated. Many hackers bide their time until their programs find a company with low security and are able to break in. 

It is important to understand that paying the ransom does not always result in the safe un-encryption or return of your data. The FBI estimates that 50% of the time, the bad actors just take their money and disappear. For that and many more reasons, it is always better (and cheaper)  to prevent an attack than it is to pick up the pieces afterwards. 

If you have been affected by ransomware or, more importantly, if you want to learn how to keep your computer systems safe from ransomware, please schedule a free strategy call with us!

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