Ransomware attacks have become commonplace as part of national security discourse. Awareness of cybersecurity issues has been raised by the White House, FBI and several corporate giants as a result of increasing risk to businesses of all sizes across the nation.

Ransomware attacks are one of the fastest growing and most dangerous cybercrimes in today’s digital landscape. A world record was set this year for the largest ransomware payout, according to Business Insider, with the attacked insurance company shelling out $40 million to recover their data. Additionally, ransom fees are skyrocketing according to the National Security Institute, averaging a 3,900% increase from 2018 to 2020.

So, what can you do to protect your Knoxville-based business? Continue reading to find out the risks posed by ransomware and the steps you can take to protect your business now.

How Ransomware Works

Ransomware works by utilizing social engineering tactics, such as phishing, to lure users into revealing sensitive information or providing access to otherwise secure networks and systems. Once the malicious actor gets access, they encrypt the data and hold it for ransom in order to decrypt it. However, the mayhem no longer stops there.

As time has passed and ransomware-wielding criminals have become savvier, exposing the data breach to critical people, like investors and customers of the business they hack, increasing pressure on all sides to have the affected business pay out and pay out fast.

These ransoms are typically held to a time limit and request cryptocurrency as the form of payment, as it is nearly impossible to trace by law enforcement. And considering many forms of ransomware originate under the anonymity of the dark web, only about three out of every 1,000 cybercrimes are arrested and prosecuted, according to Third Way Think Tank.

The Overwhelming Majority of Experts Advise NOT to Pay

Ransomware is on track to cost its victims about $265 billion annually by 2031, with an attack happening as often as every two seconds, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

But if it happens to you, keep your wallet shut.

The FBI advises never to pay the ransom. By paying the ransom and not reporting the crime, it makes the attacker harder to trace and exposes your business as a prime target, then causing future retargeting efforts to be focused your way. Many businesses run themselves into the ground trying to recover from ransomware attacks on their businesses.

And even if you do decide to pay as an attempt to keep the situation concise and quiet, Forbes estimates that nearly 92% of ransomware victims end up losing their data for good regardless of meeting the demands.

How to Recover from a Ransomware Attack

If you don’t invest in ransomware prevention, you could experience extensive downtime, reputational damage, loss of potential future business, expensive compliance penalties and more if you were to be attacked. It’s the unfortunate reality that over half of SMBs who experience a cyberattack end up having to close their doors.

Here are the recommended steps to take after a ransomware attack occurs:

  • Notify your cybersecurity team and authorities immediately.
  • Remove all affected devices from the network.
  • Disable cloud-based accounts and auto syncing.
  • Change all passwords across the network.
  • Do a complete wipe and restore across all devices.
  • Restore lost files from your last backup onto clean devices.
  • Re-enable cloud accounts.

We’ve seen too many businesses allow it to get to this point, rather than investing in long-term, comprehensive protection from the start. We have reached the point where cybersecurity is no longer an option. Much like auto or home insurance, we need cybersecurity to protect us from potential threats that could lead to a catastrophe before it happens. Otherwise, the burden of recovery rests fully on your shoulders.

Proactive Protection: Partner with PCS Inc

At PCS Inc, we understand our responsibility as Knoxville’s leading experts in ransomware prevention, cybersecurity and managed IT services. Our number one priority is to stay ahead of the current state of cybersecurity to provide a zero trust, comprehensive environment for you to work productively and with ease. Regardless of the size of your business, industry or current objectives, a partnership with our experts can provide the peace of mind you need and the tools you deserve to get your jobs done well.

To request a security assessment with one of our experts, reach out to us today. Together, we’ll identify your weaknesses and fortify your business for today’s threats and tomorrow’s possibilities.