How would your business react if you were locked out of every single file stored on any PC or cloud platform in your network, with the only way to free your data being to pay vast sums of money to a hacker?

Well, ransomware does just that.

Despite how crippling this type of attack can be, many businesses do not have the cyber security measures in place to prevent them from falling foul of a ransomware attack.

In our latest blog post to raise awareness of the dangers of common cyber security attacks that can wreak havoc on businesses of any size, we look at ransomware attacks, how they work and how to prevent them.

Watch the Ransomware Video

Watch the video below to find out more about how ransomware hacks work.

Read Video Transcript

Behind the Hack – Ransomware

How do you go in the space of just one minute, from running a busy, thriving and rewarding business to the utter despair and panic that comes with an I.T. breech that compromises your vital systems?

We’re about to show you right now…

What you’re about to see is rarely captured on video. An actual real-life hack that could devastate any business.

How would it feel to see this on your computer: every single file on your machine encrypted, locking you and all other users on your network out of every single file and system?  This is the result of “ransomware” sent via email.

Most of us would say we’re quite savvy when it comes to email security.  If a dodgy email hasn’t already been automatically sent to the spam folder, we can usually tell when somebody’s trying to exploit us over email but what about this one sent from HMRC?
It’s the kind of email you’d normally expect from them. The address sending it looks legitimate, but wait, although it’s very similar that’s not their real address – this email is actually fake sent from our hacker, asking you to do something quite normal; download a PDF guide; we click the link, the PDF opens, the URL hosting the PDF seems legitimate, there’s even a padlock indicating the site is secure, but now we can see things from the hackers point of view.

They’ve used some special hacking software to send this fake email and monitor the ransomware attack. The moment you click the link in that email and open the PDF, the hacker was given full access to your computer, inviting them to launch a business crippling attack with a single click.

Back on your machine, you happily close the PDF, minimizing your browser to show your desktop and there it is; you see for the first time something isn’t right.  Now when you try to open any file there’s nothing there. Every single file on your machine has been encrypted, locking you out, but not just on your machine, even affecting others on your network, plus connected cloud accounts like Dropbox and other people you share your files with. 

This is a very real threat and you’ve just seen first-hand the deployment of an actual ransomware attack that brings businesses and organisations to their knees every day.

What Is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of attack that plants malicious software onto a computer. Once active, the software blocks access to the computer’s files until a sum of money is paid; usually, the money is demanded in untraceable cryptocurrency.

Whilst ransomware attacks are less common than other attacks such as phishing and malware, they are extremely damaging when successful as they can impact every single computer on the same network as the one that is breached.

How Does a Ransomware Hack Work?

Ransomware is generally hidden in the form of an email with a link or attachment designed to look like it has come from a trusted source. To be successful, ransomware relies on user error or a lack of knowledge.

Usually, the email will look extremely convincing but have minor discrepancies to genuine emails such as a slight error in the spelling of the email address.

Once the link has been clicked or the attachment opened, hackers can deploy malicious software on the PC that locks down files.

As well as impacting the original PC and others on the same network, a ransomware attack can block access to connected cloud accounts such as Dropbox, meaning it can effectively take an entire business offline.

In most cases, the ransomware will impose a time limit for when the payment must be made, with all files being permanently deleted when this time limit expires.

How To Prevent Ransomware Attacks

All a ransomware attack needs to be successful is one weak entry point in your business’s cyber security defences. Here’s how you can prevent you falling foul of a breach:

  • Train your staff to recognise fraudulent emails.
  • Ensure your business takes regular backups of important files and data.
  • Use email protection to reduce the chances of ransomware emails getting into your inbox.
  • Ensure your computer is protected with anti-virus software. 
  • Use a professional cyber security provider.
  • Consider Cyber Essentials certification to protect against the most common forms of cyber attack.

Protect your Business with Absolutely PC

Is your business doing enough to protect against the risk of a ransomware attack?

In just one misjudged click, your entire IT system could be comprised, costing you thousands in clean up costs, lost work, and ransom costs whilst also impacting your reputation with customers.

To protect your business against ransomware and other common cyber attacks, call us today on 0117 975 9523 or fill out a contact form and we will get back to you.

Other Posts for you to Enjoy

 

IT Security: Folina Vulnerability Fixed

IT security update: Folina vulnerability has been fixed by Microsoft. How to ensure your system is protected and reverse the temporary fix we suggested.

IT Security: Zero Day Attack – Take Action Now

A new zero day attack is in progress and it threatens all computer systems that have Microsoft Office installed. A simple piece of code will thwart this attack until Microsoft have had a chance to release a patch

Business IT Security – Using 2FA

Business IT security is often about doing the basics really well, like securing your accounts using 2FA. In this post find out why 2FA helps to keep your business cyber secure

Man In The Middle – Behind the Hack [Video Guide]

Cybersecurity (cyber security) is a buzzword that seems to have appeared relatively quickly in the world of business IT.  If you search the term “cybersecurity” or “cyber security” on the BBC News website, there are currently 29 pages of articles from the last 2...

WordPress Security – Attacks leave 1.6 million sites damaged

Are you confident that your WordPress website is secure? Yesterday, on the 9th of December 2021, 1.6 Million WordPress Sites were Hit With 13.7 Million Attacks In 36 Hours From 16,000 IPs. It’s safe to say this is a major concern to businesses everywhere. WordPress...

Eternal Blue – Behind the Hack [Video Guide]

What would you do if a hacker had access to all of your sensitive documents and data through a machine that they had exploited, with access to control your webcam as well as monitor the screen and keyboard? It’s not something out of action movie, what we’re describing...

Another Cyber Security zero-day exploit

On 9th November Microsoft released a fix for Windows based computers that allowed an attacker to take control of your systems as an admin.  This was known as CVE-2021-41379 and was the latest in a series of cyber security issues involving Elevation of Privilege...

Cyber Security Infographic

With cyber attacks becoming increasingly common for businesses of all sizes, it is critical that your organisation understands the most common types of cyber attack and what you can do to protect yourself. Take a look at our cyber security infographic which takes you...

8.4 Billion Passwords Leaked In “RockYou2021” Hack – How To Protect Your Business

The largest password collection of all time was recently leaked onto a hacker forum, with an eye-watering 8,459,060,239 (8.4 billion) unique entries stored in a 100GB TXT file putting potentially billions of logins at risk.  Dubbed as ‘RockYou2021’ after the RockYou...

How To Fix Windows ‘PrintNightmare’ Vulnerability – Video

Microsoft is warning Windows users about a currently unpatched security flaw in the Windows Print Spooler service which is being actively exploited. Whilst waiting on a fix from Microsoft, Window's PCs are potentially vulnerable to be hacked whenever they are switched...

Have you made these IT upgrades?

Technology is constantly changing and adapting; as such, it is important to always stay on top of upgrades to ensure you are running at optimum efficiency. At Absolutely PC, IT upgrades are a necessary and consistent part of our monthly and annual maintenance...

8.4 Billion Passwords Leaked In “RockYou2021” Hack – How To Protect Your Business

The largest password collection of all time was recently leaked onto a hacker forum, with an eye-watering 8,459,060,239 (8.4 billion) unique entries stored in a 100GB TXT file putting potentially billions of logins at risk.  Dubbed as ‘RockYou2021’ after the RockYou...

4000 small businesses a day: the vicious spread of WannaCry

In May this year the online world witnessed the Wannacry ransomware attack, a cryptoworm which spread like wildfire, demanding payments in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin in over 230,000 computers using the Windows operating system. The National Health Service, the UK's...

IT Security: Zero Day Attack – Take Action Now

A new zero day attack is in progress and it threatens all computer systems that have Microsoft Office installed. A simple piece of code will thwart this attack until Microsoft have had a chance to release a patch

WordPress Security – Attacks leave 1.6 million sites damaged

Are you confident that your WordPress website is secure? Yesterday, on the 9th of December 2021, 1.6 Million WordPress Sites were Hit With 13.7 Million Attacks In 36 Hours From 16,000 IPs. It’s safe to say this is a major concern to businesses everywhere. WordPress...

Man In The Middle – Behind the Hack [Video Guide]

Cybersecurity (cyber security) is a buzzword that seems to have appeared relatively quickly in the world of business IT.  If you search the term “cybersecurity” or “cyber security” on the BBC News website, there are currently 29 pages of articles from the last 2...

Can your business cope with winter disruption?

Thanks to the unseasonably mild weather we’ve enjoyed this autumn, it’s easy to forget that winter, and all the potential havoc it can wreak, is soon to follow. It’s hard not to feel that our weather has become more unpredictable and freak storms just aren’t, well,...

New Dark Web Monitoring Tool Available from Absolutely PC

How much of your business and personal data is available online? The results could surprise you. With small business in the UK alone targeted by up to 65,000 attempted cyber attacks per day, data breaches and leaks are becoming an increasingly common occurrence. Once...

Another Cyber Security zero-day exploit

On 9th November Microsoft released a fix for Windows based computers that allowed an attacker to take control of your systems as an admin.  This was known as CVE-2021-41379 and was the latest in a series of cyber security issues involving Elevation of Privilege...

Cyber Security Infographic

With cyber attacks becoming increasingly common for businesses of all sizes, it is critical that your organisation understands the most common types of cyber attack and what you can do to protect yourself. Take a look at our cyber security infographic which takes you...