Are you locked out of your accounts? Or perhaps your files aren’t opening and you’re being bombarded with strange emails asking for payment. You could very well be experiencing a ransomware attack. What is ransomware? To put it simply, it’s a form of malware that takes over entire computer networks by locking them down and erasing data until the user pays a fee. There are a number of ways ransomware can devastate your business, but we’ve laid out some tips on how to stay ahead of cybercriminals and why managed security providers are so vital to data protection.


Ransomware can target any size business, so it’s important to learn about the kinds of attacks you could be up against. The size of your business can possibly affect the amount of “ransom” you could have to pay. Even if a business operates on a smaller scale, many business owners have been forced to pay thousands of dollars to retrieve their files and information.

To avoid becoming an easy target, here are a few examples of ransomware to look out for:


One of the easiest ways for cybercriminals to access your data is through e-mail. Take advantage of dumping out your Junk Mail daily and be mindful of strange subject lines and e-mail addresses. Ransomware can be attached through files in an email or even through an advertisement urging you to click through. Simply delete and empty your trash.


This may seem like an obvious one, but ransomware is most successful after you’ve clicked through links in an email, taking you to a website that will trigger a virus infection. These sites are designed to scare you into paying removal fees within a certain time limit, but don’t fall for the scam. If your business doesn’t have the proper firewalls set up to avoid this, it can be especially timely and costly to try and remove the malware, although it can be done.


Downloaded attachments in .zip folders or even picture files are all susceptible to ransomware hacks. Think twice before downloading any music files or attachments that are not through your company’s network and be sure to have software that scans through your downloads and other files for viruses and malware.


Similar to an infected email chain, you can be exposed to files sent to you through messaging apps as well. The use of mobile phones and tablets has opened more ways for criminals to target individuals on an even larger scale. Again, if you’re unsure of its security, delete the entire message chain to be safe.


Now that you know what to watch out for, the next step is investing in better security. If you haven’t moved towards a managed service provider yet, this can be a useful tool in defending against ransomware before it even has the chance to infect your data. Your security is only as strong as the measures you take to prevent attacks against it. The reason ransomware is so successful is due to the assumption that most small businesses don’t have proper security firewalls. Setting up a routine backup of all your files is the first step towards staying ahead of cybercriminals.


As companies rely more heavily on digital communication and strategy, having great security is more of a necessity than ever. All of your employees upon hire should go through cyber-training to become aware of these signals and learn what to do to avoid ransomware attacks. You depend on your people to support your business, so why shouldn’t your technology do the same?


If you’re interested in establishing a relationship with a managed service provider, we at Simmons Computer Services are here for you. Our expertise in information technology and understanding of strong cybersecurity is guaranteed to make you more comfortable in your business or home. Give us a call today to schedule your free system audit.


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