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.
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