by: AJ Weisheipl
A relatively new cyber risk in the world that threatens our businesses is called ransomware, “a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system and forces its victims to pay a ransom through certain online payment methods in order to grant access to their systems, or to get their data back” according to Trend Micro USA.
In February 2016 there was an attack on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center where their records were encrypted, and many of their machines were disabled. Employees had to keep track of everything on paper rather than on a computer. The encryptions placed on the hospitals system were so difficult to get around that the hospital ended up paying the ransom of 40 bitcoins, which was around $17,000 at the time. In an odd twist, this is what the FBI actually recommends due to the complexity of the encryptions. However, this creates problems because now hackers are being rewarded for their misdeeds and will now be more likely to do it again.
What does this all mean for you? Well one thing to keep in mind is that nobody is safe. I’m not trying to scare you, but that’s just how it is. There is no rhyme or reason behind these attacks, these hackers target whoever they want because they know that there is a good chance they will get what they ask for regardless of whether or not it is a big corporation or a small business.
However, there are a few things you can do to better prepare yourself for an attack.
- Have an off-site back up of all important data, this way you have a backup if attacked.
- Avoid opening any suspicious e-mails. This is the main way that hackers can invade your system, sorry Prince of Nigeria, somebody else is going to have to send you money.
- Keep your computers up to date. This is because one of the many things updates do is fix various holes in security of various programs.
- Keep a layered approach to security. This would mean having an anti-virus, a firewall and any other sort of virus protection software and using several of them instead of just one.
- Take a cyber risk assessment to analyze your organization’s current level of preparedness in responding to cyber risk as compared to best practices.
- Take out a cyber insurance policy. This can give you access to security experts who can try to minimize downtime. These policies may also cover business interruption due to a cyber event, and cyber extortion. Not all cyber insurance policies have the same coverage so make sure you contact a McClone Strategic Risk Advisor to work with you in determining the right policy for your company.
“Ransomware – Definition – Trend Micro USA”. Trendmicro.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 17 May 2016.
Raywood, Dan. “How to Avoid Being Caught out by Ransomware.”ComputerWeekly. N.p., Nov. 2015. Web. 18 May 2016.
Tuttle, Hilary. “Risk Management – Ransomware Attacks Pose Growing Threat”. Rmmagazine.com. N.p., 2016. Web. 17 May 2016.