How SMEs should protect themselves against ransomware attacks

How SMEs should protect themselves against ransomware attacks

Are you an SMB company losing sleep over ransomware attacks and intrusions into your computer network?

You should have a basic strategy to prevent the attacks. If you can’t stop the attacks, you should at least minimize the risk and losses.

“Over the past year, ransomware has become a major threat to small and medium-sized businesses. Attacks are becoming more sophisticated and frequent, says Manish Alshi, Head (Channels & Emerging Technology, Check Point Software Technologies, India and SAARC).

According to him, 61 percent of all cyber attacks reported in 2022 targeted small businesses.

The fact that micro, small and medium-sized enterprises contribute about 27 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) reflects the size and importance of these small enterprises.

“They have huge repositories of confidential information, everything from medical records to bank accounts. Hackers look at this information because they can extract it,” he said.

The initial cost of a ransomware attack can be crippling, as they have to spend a lot of money to retrieve the information.

Hackers gain access to high-value data and encrypt it so that it cannot be accessed without an unlock code, which is offered in exchange for cash.

However, there are certain measures that can be taken by the companies to prevent the attacks and minimize the losses.

Patch regularly

“It may sound simple, but staying up-to-date on the latest software and security updates can prove invaluable in protecting your organization from potential cyber threats,” he points out.

Applying updates for tablets, smartphones, laptops and PCs as soon as they are available is one of the most important steps businesses can take to improve security. “You need to make sure your operating systems, software programs, phones and apps are set to ‘automatically update’ to avoid gaps in your security posture,” he suggests.

Keep an eye out for pen drives

He wants companies to have control over the use of USB sticks and external hard drives to check against accidental or deliberate attempts to sneak viruses into the network.

“We use a pen drive or an external hard drive to share files between colleagues. But you have to remember that it only takes one insecure device to infect the entire network,” he warns.

Backup elsewhere

He warns companies against backing up data to the main server.

Several companies back up their data, but very often the data is backed up to the main server itself. It serves no purpose since the network is unavailable during an attack.

“Instead, organizations should identify critical data that their business cannot function without and have a fully isolated, remote network backup,” he advises.

“When you recover from a ransomware attack, employees can gain access to key files that allow them to continue their day-to-day operations,” he says.

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