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Why Is Ransomware So Effective Against Small Business?

ransomware small business

August 23, 2021

The question we keep asking is: Why is ransomware so effective against small businesses? Ransomware is a type of malware (still commonly referred to as a computer virus) that’s usually disguised in a phishing email. Once the dangerous attachment or link to an attachment is opened, the ransomware performs a variety of harmful tasks, the most common is to encrypt the user’s files and demand a ransom in the form of Bitcoin.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of cybercrime that’s becoming increasingly common on the international stage. We’ve seen ransomware cripple businesses, healthcare organisations, and transportation networks globally. In many cases, you don’t know your computer is infected until a ransom demand is displayed or you no longer have access to your data and files. Once ransomware takes over your systems (computers and servers), your files and data will remain encrypted even after you remove all traces of the infection.

Why are the effects of ransomware be so devastating to small businesses?

There are several other things the ransomware might do once it’s taken over an employee’s computer, but by far the most common action is to encrypt some or all of the user files. The most nefarious types of ransomware strains don’t stop there though – they spread through the business network, infecting file, print, and e-commerce servers, as well as any other vulnerable computer on the network.

The effects of ransomware on small businesses are amplified by an inability to recover computers, servers, and business-critical files from reliable backup processes.

As ransomware spreads through the network, it can attempt to install itself on as many computers and servers as it can find, and the encryption process repeats. This can have a devastating effect on any business that isn’t prepared with a recovery plan.

ransomware small business

Why are the effects of ransomware be so devastating to small businesses?

There are several other things the ransomware might do once it’s taken over an employee’s computer, but by far the most common action is to encrypt some or all of the user files. The most nefarious types of ransomware strains don’t stop there though – they spread through the business network, infecting file, print, and e-commerce servers, as well as any other vulnerable computer on the network.

The effects of ransomware on small businesses are amplified by an inability to recover computers, servers, and business-critical files from reliable backup processes.

As ransomware spreads through the network, it can attempt to install itself on as many computers and servers as it can find, and the encryption process repeats. This can have a devastating effect on any business that isn’t prepared with a recovery plan.

How can my business recover our files and data?

The cybercriminals have the key you need to unlock your files and they claim to give you the key in exchange for a ransom. Ransomware payments do NOT guarantee that you will get any of your files or data back. The FBI does not support paying a ransom in response to a ransomware attack.

The best and easiest way to recover your files and data is to restore them from backup AFTER the ransomware has been removed from the affected computers and servers.

Small businesses need to take well thought through and rigorous approach to backups, user awareness, and patching in general. If you frequently back up your files to a system not connected to the ransomware infection, you should still have access to some of your data.

Your systems, employee documents, and important files need to be readily available in secure backup directories and frequently backed up for a host of reasons, one is recovering from a cyber-attack. We usually recommend a secure, well-managed cloud-based backup system that automatically backs up your systems and files.

Knowledge and action are key

Knowing how ransomware can affect your business, your current user awareness level, gaps in your defences, and backup processes will help you fend off an attack. There are a growing number of small businesses that are hurt by ransomware attacks every year that were caught completely off guard.

A robust defence against these attacks relies on the actions you take with the knowledge you have. Here are some key mitigations for small businesses:

Key mitigations for ransomware in any environment:

Tip 1: Ransomware enters via email, make sure your employees are aware of the risks associated with dangerous emails, how to identify them, and where to report them to.

Tip 2: Keep your anti-virus systems up to date and make sure your systems are patched frequently.

Tip 3: Ensure that your computer and server backups are completed regularly and tested throughout the year. Make sure that ransomware can’t spread to the backup servers too.

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