Aug 09 2020

Small and medium‑sized businesses: Big targets for ransomware attacks

Category: RansomwareDISC @ 10:41 pm

Why are small and medium-sized businesses a target for ransomware-wielding gangs and what can they do to protect themselves against cyber-extortion?

According to a recent report by the Ponemon Institute, the biggest challenge faced by SMBs is a shortage of personnel to deal with cyber-risks, attacks, and vulnerabilities, while the second greatest problem revolves around limited budgets. The third biggest challenge is that the firms may lack an understanding of how to protect against cyberattacks.

According to Datto’s report, ransomware is at the top of the list of the malware threats that SMBs face, with one in five reporting that they had fallen victim to a ransomware attack. The average ransom requested by threat actors is about US$5,900. However, that is not the final price tag; the cost of downtime is 23 times greater than the ransom requested in 2019, coming in at US$141,000 and representing an increase of over 200% from 2018 to 2019.

“Funding cybercriminals also funds larger cyberattacks, so it must be reiterated that paying won’t always get make the issue go away,” says ESET cybersecurity specialist Jake Moore.

The key, then, is prevention, and it includes these basic measures:

  • All employees should undergo regular training so as to be up-to-date on cybersecurity best practices. This can go a long way in lowering the chances of them clicking on potentially hazardous links in their emails that could be laced with ransomware or plugging in unknown USB devices that could be loaded with malware.
  • You should always keep your operating systems and other software updated to the newest version available and, whenever a patch is released, apply it.
  • Always plan for the worst and hope for the best, so have a business continuity plan at the ready in case disaster strikes. It should include a data backup and maybe even a backup infrastructure you can use while you try to restore your locked systems.
  • Backups are essential for everyone, be it individuals or huge enterprises. Back up your business-critical data regularly and test those backups frequently to see if they are functioning correctly, so that they don’t leave you in a bind if you’re hit. At least the most valuable data should also be stored off-line.
  • Reduce the attack surface by disabling or uninstalling any unnecessary software or services. Notably, as remote access services are often the primary vector for many ransomware attacks, you would be well advised to disable internet-facing RDP entirely or at least limit the number of people allowed remote access to the firm’s servers over the internet.
  • Never underestimate the value of a reputable, multilayered security solution. Besides your employees, it is your first line of defense that you should have up and running to protect you against all manner of threats, not ‘just’ ransomware attacks. Also, make sure the product is patched and up-to-date.

Source: Small and medium‑sized businesses: Big targets for ransomware attacks | WeLiveSecurity

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Tags: ransomware attacks, SMB

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