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What small businesses need to know about ransomware BUSINNESS

By Matthew Davis

What is a business without data? One
Ecommerce merchants can not sell products without catalogs, orders and customers
Details. A service company can not serve anyone who knows nothing about them.
A healthcare provider can not treat patients if medical records and appointments are available
Data disappears. Without data, companies go out of business.

Ransomware aims to rob small ones
Company of their data. This is done by creating an encrypted version of
Data, deleting the original and demanding money for encryption
Key. Without the encryption keys, the data can not be recovered.

Ransomware brings small business owners
in a dilemma: you can pay the ransom and get the data back or you can refuse
pay. When they pay, they pay could to get
the data back, but it is not guaranteed. If they refuse to pay, the costs will be lost
Business and damaged reputation can even be higher than the ransom.

There is a third option, the
It's about completely overcoming the dilemma, as we discuss later in this article.

How much does Ransomware cost small businesses?

Nobody knows exactly how much
Ransomware costs small businesses every year. Companies that pay the ransom
They do not tend to publish the fact that they were hacked and blackmailed.
However, security researchers can estimate the impact of ransomware
is not a nice picture

In 2018, the FBI estimated that there
There have been more than 4,000 ransomware attacks per day, a number that has been increasing lately
Months. Estimates from the security service provider Beazley Breach Response Services
based on attacks against their customers 70 percent of
Ransomware attacks
The target group are small businesses with an average ransom demand of $ 116,000.

The total ransom revenue of
The victims are estimated to cost around $ 1 billion a year, but the losses suffered
of victims are significantly higher at around $ 8 billion. Make ransom payments
increase a small part of the cost of ransomware; the disruption of the business
Operations is where the real damage is done.

Twenty percent of ransomware companies were forced to cease operations immediately, according to the US Federal Department of Human Rights Annual status of the ransomware report, The surviving companies suffered from consequences ranging from minimal disruption to longer downtime, to significant revenue losses and reputational damage to their brand.

The shops that have suffered minimally
Disruption had always been prepared to reduce ransomware risk before it reached it
were attacked.

How does ransomware work?

Ransomware infects the business desktop
Machines and servers in the same way as other malware. It uses security
Vulnerabilities in the placement of malicious code in the corporate infrastructure. If the code is
is executed, it finds data to encrypt. The most demanding ransomware can be found
Data on drives connected to the computer, including network storage and
Cloud storage.

The encryption techniques of
Ransomware vary. Naive Ransomware simply encrypts the data with an asymmetric one
Encryption algorithm that leaves the keys on the server before the
Victim with a message requesting payment. This type of ransomware is outdated
and are rarely used because it is easy for security experts to find the key and
Decrypt data.

Modern ransomware uses a combination
of symmetric encryption and public-key cryptography, which is much more difficult
Defeat. The only way to decrypt the data is to use a private key that only the user has
Attacker has access to. There is no way to get the private key without that
the cooperation of the attacker and no way to decrypt the data without the private key.

It is worth emphasizing this for most
Victims have no hope of decrypting the data without the private key. The
Attackers use encryption technologies that also benefit the military and government
Agencies like the NSA can not break. The only way to get the key without the
The attacker's collaboration is to hack his servers
Resources of small business owners and most security professionals.

Early ransomware was often flawed,
and researchers found ways to circumvent the encryption. Today's ransomware is
Better designed: Once the data is encrypted, there is no practical way
decrypt it without the key.

Small business owners should be careful
of service providers who claim to be able to decrypt lost data in a ransomware
Attack. Most simply negotiate with the attacker and pay the ransom.

Like beat ransomware attacks

As we have said, once the data
encrypted it is lost forever, unless the ransom is paid. The most effective
The mitigation is to prevent a ransomware infection and run this small business
Owners need to understand how ransomware gets on them
Infrastructure.

  • Phishing attacks. Phishing is the most common ransomware vector. The attacker sends one
    Email with a link that redirects the victim to a site when clicked
    exploits software vulnerabilities to infect the computer with ransomware.
    Employees should be aware of phishing and trained not to click links
    E-mails.
  • Software vulnerabilities. Software vulnerabilities in Internet-based software can be
    exploited to give attackers the access they need to infect a computer
    Ransomware. The best way to reduce the risk of software vulnerabilities is to
    Limit the amount of software connected to the Internet, and above all keep these
    Software up to date. Updates fix vulnerabilities.
  • Brute force and dictionary attacks, These are "guesswork" attacks against user authentication systems.
    Automated bots try to guess combinations of username and password. This is
    Simple when users choose short and simple passwords. It is impossible when
    Passwords are sufficiently long and random or used by the company
    Two-factor authentication.

This is
Basic safety advice that every small business owner should follow, but
Vulnerabilities are widespread and criminals are ready to exploit each
Vulnerability. It is wise to assume that your business will be infected
Ransomware sometime. We have already said that is decrypting the data
impossible, but there is a way to defeat ransomware that has already been encrypted
Dates.

If a business lasts regularly and
Comprehensive backups and moving off-site backup data are not required
Turn off the attacker's encryption. You can delete and reinstall the affected machines
the software, and recover the data from a backup. There may be downtime, but no
Ransom is paid and no data is lost.

Every fifth small business is closed
after a ransomware attack. They are the companies that have not prepared themselves: you
has not educated employees about phishing attacks. They were not updated and patched
Software; and above all, they did not have any recent offsite backups.

If that sounds like your small business, it's time to take ransomware seriously.

Selected photo credits: DepositPhotos

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Matthew Davis
Matthew works as an author for Future Hosting, a leading provider from VPS hosting. He focuses on data news, cyber security and web development topics. He usually hides behind a computer screen looking for the latest news in the technology industry. You can find more great articles at FH's blog,

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