Ransomware: A Story Not to Repeat
One minute, Aubrey was looking for a client file. File explorer popped open on her computer and she was about to select the file that she wanted to review.
The next minute, her screen was locked. A menacing message flashed across it: PAY UP, OR YOUR DATA WILL BE ERASED.
Aubrey quickly opened SharePoint on her phone, and she could view the library, but up and down as she scrolled she saw that all documents were marked as “locked.”
The Aftermath of the Attack
A month later, the attack was long resolved but far from forgotten. The company immediately called an IT security professional who was able to stop the attack and retrieve the company data, but their story was the exception, not the rule.
Thousands of U.S. companies each year—most of them small businesses—either pay up to ransomware attacks and lose their data anyway or pay up and are cornered in another attack shortly after.
Weeks after the fact, there Aubrey stood one morning in front of the whole staff. She was presenting the basic “device hygiene” that she had learned from her own errors. She taught:
- Backup your data often
- Change your passwords regularly
- Install software updates as soon as they’re available
- Do NOT open emails or attachments if you don’t know the sender (Aubrey’s ransomware was installed through a phishing email)
- Never set up devices that don’t need to be on the internet
- Set up a guest network for smart and IoT devices
Who’s vulnerable to ransomware?
- Any person or business whose device uses the internet
- Businesses big and small—remember the Equifax breach?
- Anyone who uses default passwords or repeats passwords across platforms
Ransomware is the cyber equivalent of a highway robbery, they say.
There you are, driving along, maybe with music…and then you stop to help someone you see pulled over on the side of the road.
Then the weapon comes out and your life is changed forever.
When it comes to business security, your data represents not just your life but the lives of your colleagues and clients. Protect everyone now: learn from Aubrey’s mistakes.
Talk to an IT professional today about protecting your company from ransomware and other malicious cyberattacks.