Ransomware Attacks: Why They're on the Rise and What to Do About It

March 17, 2021

executive working at night

There’s no doubt that ransomware attacks are on the rise. According to Security Boulevard, between third-quarter 2019 and third-quarter 2020, ransomware attacks increased by 139%. Ransomware attacks are a particularly formidable type of cyber attack that can be devastating to any business, and their effects are time consuming and expensive to repair. 

Why Ransomware Attacks Are Increasing

Cyber criminals are internet experts. They only launch attacks that they find profitable, and ransomware is among the most lucrative types of attack. What is a ransomware attack? When cyber criminals mount a ransomware attack, they gain access to your system and encrypt critical files. The criminals will then notify you that your data has been stolen and demand a ransom payment, often in bitcoin.

Sometimes you know that you’ve been a victim even before the criminals contact you because you come to work in the morning and you can’t access your computers. This can stall all company operations until you find a solution.

Companies of all sizes and in all industries are seeing the increase in ransomware attacks for two key reasons:

  • Businesses are increasingly relying on computers and the data they hold, and cyber criminals know the leaders in those businesses will be desperate to get their data back.
  • Working remotely increased significantly during the pandemic, and criminals now have a variety of ways to gain access to central systems.

Many employees will continue to work remotely after the pandemic is over. Therefore, the criminals find it worthwhile to continually change their tactics for ransomware attacks to stay ahead of the businesses they like to target.

How to Protect Yourself Against Ransomware Attacks

Now is the time to determine if you’re prepared for a ransomware attack. There are a number of things you can do to avoid an attack, including:

  • Taking action to close known vulnerabilities before a cyber criminal finds them.
  • Keeping a real-time inventory of all the devices that are on your network so that you can isolate problems.
  • Establishing an aggressive patching program to keep your systems up to date.
  • Establishing ongoing cyber security training to prepare your employees to prevent cyber attacks.
  • Creating an incident response plan that will allow you to effectively respond to an attack if necessary.

Keep in mind that according to IBM, 95% of cyber security breaches result from human error. Effective and ongoing employee training for cyber security is critical. Employees need to learn about the pitfalls they must avoid to keep your systems safe.

For example, a cyber criminal may send phishing emails to your employees. Sometimes, those emails can be spoofed to look like they come from someone in the organization. If an employee clicks on a link in those emails, they may open the door to cyber criminals. Train employees on what to look for and follow up after training to help employees turn the training into action.

Next Steps

If you need to increase your protection against cyber criminals, make that project a top priority. Access One can help you to manage your risk without straining your resources with our IT security services. For more information, call us at 800-804-8333, or drop us an email.

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