In 2021, a SpyCloud survey revealed that 72% of organizations claimed to have been impacted by ransomware. In a similar survey conducted in 2023, the percentage of organizations claiming to have been impacted by ransomware increased to 90%. Anyone can spot the significant increase in ransomware attacks.
In 2017, ransomware called WannaCry infected more than 200,000 computers worldwide. It was a nightmare for people, as it targeted mostly used Windows-based systems. The net loss resulting from the WannaCry attacks amounted to billions of dollars.
Over 6,000 online businesses had to face direct attacks from different kinds of ransomware. Ninety percent of online businesses worldwide were impacted (directly or indirectly) by ransomware in 2022.
How does ransomware operate?
Ransomware attacks computer systems and encrypts all of the user’s data. They demand money, mostly in Bitcoin, to decrypt the user’s data. The attackers’ primary goal is to make a profit from their victims. However, even if you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee that the ransomware will decrypt your data. In some cases, the ransomware does not simply leave the attacked system but also uses it as a carrier to infect other systems. If you fail to meet their demands within a limited time, the ransomware may automatically delete your data.
Some malicious ransomware variants first calculate the number and size of files on your computer, delete your original files, and then create fake files using that data. This level of evilness can be felt, especially when it affects your online business. Fortunately, this type of ransomware attack is rare because attackers cannot achieve the desired profit from such tactics.
Does my small business under threat of Ransomware?
Unfortunately, the answer is affirmative. It’s a myth that attackers only target large businesses. Attackers often target small businesses more frequently than larger ones. Small businesses tend to have lower security budgets, which makes them an appealing target for attackers. Many small online businesses rely on automated tools or antivirus programs for protection. However, in the face of modern cyber threats, these measures can be insufficient.
Attackers are primarily motivated by profit. With low levels of security, they can easily breach small online businesses. Once ransomware affects their data, small businesses often feel compelled to pay the ransom to protect their online operations.
Attackers are no saints. They are just criminals. They won’t have any hard feelings to attack your small business and make a profit from it. You have to take steps. Otherwise, you will be one of their victims.
Ways ransomware can infect your business application:
Though ransomware is bot-type malware, there is still a human-initiated team behind the attacks.
Here are some ways that those attackers may use to infect your system with ransomware:
- Vulnerable Business Application: Attackers scan for vulnerabilities in your online business application. And exploit those vulnerabilities to install ransomware in your online business system. They create automated exploits against those vulnerabilities they find in online business applications and feed them to the ransomware.
- Breached Your Office Network: Hackers or attackers may infect your office network to compromise your business system. There are ways that hackers can use to breach your network and install ransomware in your business application.
- Social Engineered Your Employees: Most cyber-attacks are a reason for human failure. Because of having no idea or significantly less statement about cyber attacks, employees step into traps of cyber criminals. That can lead to a whole disaster for your online business. Via social engineering, attackers may steal employees’ accounts in your business application and install ransomware in your online business system.
- Through Third-Party Software: Offices must use other third-party software to perform office work. However, vulnerable third-party software can lead to hacking your system. It may be frustrating for you to be in trouble due to others’ mistakes. Therefore, you should only use software from companies prioritizing customer security.
Cybercriminals are one of the most creative criminals in the world. They will find new and new methods to compromise your system. Every day cybercriminals are finding new ways to install their creepy ransomware in your business system.
How can I protect my business from ransomware?
Here are some tips to follow to save your online business from ransomware:
- Pentest Your Business Application: This should be the first and most important step to protect your online business from ransomware. Not only just ransomware pen-testing will keep you safe from any kind of modern cyber threats. Pentesting can be costly but not as much as ransomware attacks. There is even a possibility that once you get hit by ransomware, that could be the end of your online business. So, don’t compromise—pentest your online business application.
- Protect Your Office Network: When it comes to protecting an office network involves a combination of several tasks. These include conducting penetration testing on internal networks between office computers, obtaining services from reputable Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and hiring skilled professionals to operate and monitor the office networks 24/7, looking out for any potential unknown interactions.
- Train Your Employees Against Cyber Threats: The reason behind 90% of cyber attacks is human error. Attackers can be tricky to install ransomware in your business system. Untrained employees won’t be able to see their tricks and fall into their traps. So train your employees against a cyber threat so they can learn how hackers can fool them, and they would be aware of those attacks.
- Update Your Applications and OS: Offices need to use other third-party software to perform office tasks. You should use updated versions of them because updated versions always come with security patches. You should use premium operating systems for your office computers. Pirate operating systems can be dangerous for your business, such as security breaches in your office computer’s OS, which can lead to ransomware attacks.
- Use An Anti-Virus Program: Use a well-reputed anti-virus program for your business system to check for malware. In an online business, you always have to work with others’ untrusted data. That’s why you need to check them with an anti-virus program. It may slow down your system a bit but it does worth to use. An updated anti-virus program can defend against known malware, including ransomware.
- Hire A Cyber Security Team or Build One (If possible): You will face cyber threats each day because it is not a one-time task but a continuous project. So, you will need to check your cyber threats condition for your online business daily. They can keep your system ahead of modern cybersecurity trends.
- Ransomware is one of the worst modern cyber threats. That is causing billions of dollars in loss.
- It encrypts your online business system data and asks for money to decrypt the data else it will delete your data.
- Small businesses are most favorite for attackers due to low budgets for security.
- It infects your business through vulnerable applications, breached networks, and traps employees or third-party software.
- Cyber Criminals are one of the most creative criminals. They always find a new way to install ransomware in your online business system.
- But there are several ways to stop ransomware attacks you should follow them.