Ransomware attacks have been on the rise over the last few years. Businesses and government institutions in Florida have been prime targets of ransomware cyberattacks, with a Florida School District being the most recent case.
A criminal gang compromised the computer systems of Broward County Public Schools using data-locking ransomware. They threatened to publish students’ and employees’ details online, which would significantly affect the institution’s reputation, unless they were paid a ransom of $40 million in cryptocurrency.
Although reports indicate that ransom was not paid and cybersecurity experts quickly moved in to remediate the systems, the attack demonstrated the dangers of ransomware. Anyone can be a target.
It is essential for Florida businesses to develop tight cybersecurity measures against ransomware attacks in order to protect their business data—and reputation. Here are some crucial pieces of information that Florida businesses need to know about ransomware.
The Dangers of Ransomware
Ransomware is a type of malware attack that encrypts your data files, threatens to publish them, or blocks access until a ransom is paid. Ransomware attacks mainly occur through phishing emails, whereby a link directs you to download files, upon which the attacker gains access and takes over your computer system.
A ransomware attack will negatively impact your business no matter the approach you use to handle it. Failure to pay the ransom demanded by the hacker can result in a significant loss of sensitive information. Worse still, you may face legal charges for exposing your clients’ or employees’ information.
Moreover, choosing to pay the ransom will significantly impact your finances (most hackers demand massive amounts) and only encourages cyberattacks. Even then, you are not guaranteed full recovery of the stolen data.
How to Prevent a Ransomware Attack
Most businesses discover a ransomware attack the moment they are locked out of their computer systems. While detecting ransomware early enough is necessary, the best practices will prevent it from happening. Some of the preventive measures you can put into place include the following:
Keep All Your Software Updated
Keeping your software updated with the latest security patches ensures that your operating system is continuously being strengthened. As technology advances, system weaknesses are discovered. Patches fix these weaknesses, preventing them from being exploited by criminals.
If you have trouble remembering to properly install patches or other updates, consider implementing automation.
Educate Your Users on Security Protocols
Most cyberattacks result from user error, either through opening suspicious links, giving out personal information, or downloading files from untrusted sites. Educating and training your employees and users on safety measures, including how to recognize and avoid phishing scams, can significantly mitigate the threats.
With phishing tactics constantly evolving, the training should be continuous to ensure that your employees are familiar with the emerging cybersecurity trends.
Outsource Cybersecurity to a Managed Service Provider
Nothing gives relief like having a team of experts handling your cybersecurity issues while you’re focusing on other business essentials. IT services from a reputable Managed Service Provider offer the cybersecurity solutions your business needs. A good provider will assess, identify, and analyze the possible weak links in your system and will implement the security measures required.
At ITS Group, we understand that your business productivity is your number one priority. We make it easy for you by keeping your IT systems operational and secure. Contact us today to learn more about what our exceptional cybersecurity services can do for you.