Protect Your Business from the Threat of Ransomware

Cyber-criminals are always coming up with new ways to cheat you out of your money. A growing scam is known as ransomware, where the criminals literally hold all of your computer data until you pay a ransom for it. Businesses are especially hard-hit by this crime. It disrupts your ability to run your business and make money, and you spend money on the ransom, if you decide to pay.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 992 cases from April 2014 through June 2015. Ransoms can range from $200 to $10,000, sometimes more for larger organizations. Any business is vulnerable. Even hospitals and police departments have been victims of ransomware.

How it Works

There are several ways that criminals can place ransomware on your computer system. The most common is by placing it in an email attachment. Once the attachment is opened, the system is infected and the ransomware blocks all access to the files. The second most common way is from infected downloads. Clicking on infected links is another way the ransomware can gain access to your computers.

Prevention is Key

The best defense against malware is to be proactive. The FBI recommends the following ways to combat ransomware:

  • Have current anti-virus software and a firewall on your computer system. Make sure they’re set up to receive software updates automatically.
  • Block pop-up ads. Even clicking on them by accident can allow the ransomware to infect your computers.
  • Back up computer files regularly. Many companies also place their files on the cloud, storing and accessing their computer files from the Internet. Cloud storage companies employ the latest anti-virus software to prevent any infection of your computer files.
  • Be vigilant. Always be wary of emails from people you don’t know and avoid unfamiliar websites.

Spread the Word

Don’t forget your employees. Educate your workers about the threat of ransomware and how to identify infected emails, links, and websites. If you do become a victim of ransomware, contact your local FBI field office. You can locate your nearest office here: https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field.