Most business leaders and those working in IT right now have heard of ransomware. Many believe, mistakenly, that it is the other guy’s problem, not something to worry about firsthand. Yet, a quick look at the intensity with which this threat is growing surely reveals that it is not something to overlook. New strains of ransomware continue to turn up and they are getting more dominate, more likely to infect businesses and more worrisome for long-term protection.
Ransomware’s Intensity and Explosion
Research from companies like Proofpoint are showcasing this growing threat, which has truly taken off since the start of 2016. You can take a quick look at the blog post from Proofpoint that shows the escalation in detail. In short, what we are seeing is the development of new strains of the threat. There are four specific new strains that have taken off just since March. Those include BrLock, ROI Locker/Manamecrypt, CryptFile2 and MM Locker. There are numerous additional subsets of these threats. As a business owner, you may not be too concerned about names, but you should be concerned about this growing threat and how you can and need to stop it.
Before getting into that, there’s also the need to discuss copycats. New variants like those mentioned come from copycat creators who want to get into the action themselves. What this does is open the door for changes. These new threats come with their own techniques and now there are new attack vectors, new ways to get that ransom and new code platforms. This further complicates the process and makes it very difficult for today’s average business to put in place steps to stop it.
How to Handle Ransomware in Your Business
These growing threats should worry business owners. The first step, if you believe you could have encountered ransomware, is to visit the ID Ransomware site. It provides some information that can help the average IT department to determine if they have been impacted and, in some cases, identify the particular strain present. There may be some decryption tools available to allow the company to recover the user’s files or even the entire network shares if and when backups are unsuccessful.
However, the most important preventative measure businesses need to take is to focus on their employees. There is no doubt that ransomware is proving to be profitable for the hackers. However, in every situation, your employees play the ultimate role in protecting your company.
- Teach employees about ransomware. Ensure the company’s leaders understand the threats, too.
- Understand that this isn’t a single, one-named virus or individual strain. There are multiple and they continue to grow.
- Provide your employees with advanced and highly effective security awareness training so that they can spot red flags and potentially avoid the attacks present.
- Discuss all areas of threat. This includes exploit-laced webpages, emails, malvertising, or other threats. Again, there is no single source to these threats.
- Always put a go-to solution in place. What should employees do right now if they think they’ve encountered a threat?
Business owners simply cannot overlook the risks associated with ransomware. Putting effort and time into not only understanding the threat but also taking steps to prevent risks and remain vigilant about its growth and changing is essential. Otherwise, your data and your entire network can easily go down.
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