Guest Blog from Guy Hocking at Utilize

Guest Blog from Guy Hocking at Utilize

A cyberattack that stops you from trading

If you couldn’t trade for one day, how much would it cost you in lost business?

If you couldn’t trade for 3 days, 4 days or a week, how many customers would you lose?

Microsoft reports that every 40 seconds another business is targeted by ransomware

Ransomware will take your data files including documents and databases – that means all the business information necessary to pay employees, settle accounts and run your business. It is a world wide crime and one of the fastest growing types of cyber security attacks. This sort of attack is so effective because it stops you from trading. Everyday you cannot trade, you are losing money. Therefore, you are more likely to pay the hackers price.

Ransomware : what is it?

Ransomware is a form of malware that takes over your system and will either lock your screen or encrypt your data files. The hacker demands a ransom, their price, after which they will allegedly, return your access. The ransom is often requested in Bitcoin and the amount ranges from a couple of hundred to thousands of pounds.

As these hackers are criminals, we regularly hear that access is not granted even if you decide to pay. You will also go onto a “payer” listing and it’s highly likely that you’ll be targeted again by the same criminal or someone to whom they’ve sold your details. The UK tends to discourage payments to hackers, whereas the US doesn’t, and it’s no coincidence that the volume of ransomware attacks in the US is currently higher than in the UK.

How will I be infected?

Ransomware is often spread through emails – known as phishing emails. They contain an invitation to open a link to an infected website or it asks you to download a file and infect yourself. It is also spread through social media, such as web-based instant messaging applications. Once the malware has been downloaded, it hides in operating files so it’s difficult to locate, and it can replicate itself across a network. It can self-download additional malware, which enables the attacker to steal personal information from the victim which may be sold on to other criminals.

Many companies do not find out immediately that they have been attacked – they simply don’t know. Others realise, panic and try to carry on, hiding the breach. The reasons basically boil down to fear of losing customers or reputation; or the company does not have the tools and processes in place to highlight the breach. Either way, your data is inaccessible.

There isn’t a cure

Think of all malware as a virus. Once you are infected, it will surge through your IT systems, infecting all other devices and applications linked to your network. However, it is possible to defend against an attack and mitigate the impact on your business. For example, you can make multiple ‘point in time’ backups stored in different locations, with at least one of these stored somewhere unconnected to your network or the internet.

We have compiled a list of the 8 key actions you can take to protect your business and it’s data. If you implement them it won’t stop someone trying to attack you, but it will ensure that you can continue to trade.

Guest Blog from Guy Hocking at Utilize

Read our guide in full here