Security

Ransomware Shouldn’t Cost You a Thing

If fortune smiles on your company, you won’t ever have to deal with what we are about to discuss: ransomware. For the past several years ransomware has been a major issue for businesses, governments, and individuals. Today, we will talk about ransomware, how there are different strategies, and how some people want to put a ban on ransomware payments. 

Common Types of Ransomware

As with most cyberthreats, ransomware keeps mutating, flooding the market with all types of dangerous malware. It can often be difficult to keep track of the threats. One thing is for certain, ransomware often relies on similar tactics to ultimately hold the data hostage. Let’s quickly take a look at five of the most common types of ransomware right now:

● Cerber - Cerber targets Microsoft 365 users through the use of an elaborate phishing campaign. 

● CryptoLocker - One of the most famous ransomware strains that is now just a copy of the original that was shut down back in 2014. 

● CryLocker - CryLocker uses a personalized ransom note using the encrypted files on a person’s computer or server. This ransomware locks a person out of their computer entirely. 

● Locky - Spread through phishing, this ransomware instructs users to enable macros to read the message. Once that’s complete, the malware will start encrypting files, and demanding a ransom. 

● Jigsaw - One of the worst of a bad lot. When triggered, Jigsaw will delete one or more files every hour for 72 hours. If the ransom hasn’t been paid when the 72-hour window is up, all the files are deleted. 

Steps You Should Take

No business can afford to have their data encrypted, deleted, or worse. Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid it. Let’s take a look at 10 steps that users can take to avoid dealing with any of the above threats.

1. Never click on unverified links

2. Do not open email attachments unless they are from a trusted source

3. Don’t download files from websites you don’t trust

4. Do your best to avoid giving out personal data

5. Don’t use USB or SD Card drives that you didn’t purchase yourself

6. Keep your software patched and updated, including security software

7. Utilize antivirus, firewall, and other security software

8. Use a virtual private network on public Wi-Fi

9. Backup your data onsite and in the cloud

10. Use a mail server with spam protection and content filtering software

But,  If You Do Get It…

The ten tips above will help you avoid getting ransomware, but all it takes is one time for the nightmare to happen. In the past 12 months, $380 million has been spent trying to buy back access to ransomware-infected files, computing systems, and servers. At COMPANYNAME, we are of the belief that there are no good reasons to buy back your data. In your haste to get control over your data, you may consider paying the extortion fee, but here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t:

● The attack might be fake

● You may not get all your data back

● The hackers could leave malware behind 

● You set a precedent that you will pay if attacked

● You are reinforcing the notion that hacking and scamming is profitable. 

In fact, there are some legislatures in the US that are looking to make paying scammers’ ransom illegal. Since multiple municipalities have already gotten ransomware and paid the fine, more hackers are targeting them. The U.S. Treasury has already stated that they are firmly against payments to any ongoing extortion, including ransomware; and, in some cases, doing so may be breaking the law.

If you would like more information about ransomware, or if you are looking to get a comprehensive backup and recovery platform in place to stay proactive against a possible ransomware attack, call the IT professionals at Jackson Thornton Technologies today at 334-834-7660.

 

How to Monitor Your Employees’ Activities without Crossing Any Lines

Of all the contentious topics in the workplace, employee monitoring is among the most divisive. As an authority figure in your business, it is only natural that you would want to make sure that your team is working diligently—especially as they are working remotely. That being said, there are some lines that cannot be crossed you should be aware of. Let’s discuss the concept of monitoring your employees and what cannot be done.

Monitoring Your Team Without Telling Them

For starters, you can’t just start monitoring your team without informing them and obtaining their consent. This is generally illegal, and therefore should be avoided at any and every opportunity. The basic rule of thumb is this: unless you have a valid and legitimate reason to suspect an employee of acting out and are actively investigating their behaviors, you are not cleared to utilize monitoring software without informing your team that it is in place.

Therefore (as obvious as this point may be), don’t do that.

What you should instead do is be transparent with your team. Let them know that their systems will be monitored, what it is that will be monitored, and—this is the really important part—why you are monitoring their computers at all. Maintaining this level of transparency will be important to keep your team comfortable with the thought of being monitored, while you enjoy the security benefits of keeping your fingers on the pulse of your business.

Monitoring Your Team, Outside of Work

Remote work has added an extra wrench into your considerations, as it obviously gives your team an increased level of access to their work devices. So, if you no longer have simple access to and control over these devices, it makes sense that you would want to continue monitoring their computers even after regular working hours.

Here’s the problem with that: who is to say how your employees are going to use their work devices after the work day has ended, and what kind of data could you inadvertently capture through your monitoring solution? Even if it happened by accident, you could wind up capturing the access credentials to one of your team member’s bank accounts, potentially putting you in hot water legally. There are a few different methods that you can use to avoid this, ranging from banning your employees from using work devices for personal reasons to giving your team members the ability to switch off their monitoring while using or accessing personal information.

Monitoring Your Team, For the Sake of Monitoring Them

Finally, you need to have a direct reason for monitoring your employees’ activities. Whether you’re trying to identify data leaks or resolve inefficiency in your processes, monitoring can be used to help collect the information you need. However, if you want to implement a monitoring solution simply to ensure that your team members are working diligently, you need to pause and reconsider.

A good rule of thumb to follow, in terms of employee monitoring, is that there always needs to be a specific goal that serves as the purpose for monitoring your team in the first place. Otherwise, you could be on shaky ground. Using it strategically, employee monitoring can bring you significant operational benefits.

With the right strategy, considerable benefits can be brought to your operations through the right technology solutions. Jackson Thornton Technologies can help. Find out how by calling 334-834-7660.

 

 

Four Key Components of Successful Network Security

Nowadays, a business’ network security needs to be amongst its top priorities if it is to have any chance of operating without undue risk of data breaches and other incidents. Admittedly, managing this sounds like a Herculean task, but a few relatively simple implementations can help give your security a considerable advantage as you lock down your business’ future. Here, we’ve reviewed four such areas you need to focus on.

Patch Management

Software is notoriously imperfect, as indicated by the constant updates and patches that are rolled out for different titles and platforms. Cybercriminals are highly motivated to identify these imperfections and take advantage of them to achieve their own ends. As a result, the importance of promptly installing these packages is elevated to help avoid experiencing the ill impacts of such threats.

Many businesses will only patch after testing the update (if they manage their patches at all). While this isn’t necessarily a bad policy, it is crucial that this process happens as quickly as possible to avoid exposing you to more risk.

Device Control

To state it plainly, you need to have some level of control over the security of any and all devices that connect to your business’ network—regardless of whether they belong to the company, or if they are privately owned. This will help to ensure that vulnerabilities aren’t making their way into your business by piggybacking in on devices that may have connected to an insecure network.

As more people than ever are also taking advantage of remote work, you should also make sure that your employees are able to securely access the resources they require to successfully complete their responsibilities. Again, the networks they use at home aren’t likely to be as secure as the one your business relies on should be. Implementing the use of virtual private networking to facilitate secure remote work should be considered a must.

Benchmark Comparisons

It is also valuable to know A: which solutions you are currently using and B: how well your security best practices line up to what can be considered acceptable. This can be accomplished by contrasting your own with the levels that have been previously established.

With the information and data gleaned from such assessments, you will be better able to identify your most pressing security shortcomings and resolve them accordingly.

Identity Management

Of course, we can’t discuss network security without also bringing up the idea of controlling access to data based on a user’s role and associated need for the data in question. After all, someone in one department may have no need for the very same data that another department finds absolutely essential. Even more pressing is the fact that you need to ensure that only authorized users can access the network and its stored resources at all.

Many security experts have shared opinions about how best to do so, and the modern consensus is swiftly migrating away from relying solely on passwords for authentication. Instead, a shift to multi-factor authentication—where an additional proof of identity is required—has become the prevailing wisdom. This can range from implementing time-sensitive generated codes into your authentication processes, to providing your users with a hardware-based security key that will provide them with access.

Are you looking to improve your company’s network security?

Jackson Thornton Technologies is here to help. Our experts have the expertise gained from years of experience to evaluate your IT infrastructure and its protections to make recommendations as to the best improvements to make. Reach out to us at 334-834-7660 to learn more.

 

When the People You Trust Phish You

Having success in business often relies on developing trustworthy relationships. You have to trust your vendors and suppliers to get you the resources you need, you need to trust your staff to complete their tasks without putting your business in harm's way, and you need to trust your customers to buy the products and services that you offer. Running counter to these necessary bonds of trust are people actively soliciting people’s time, energy, money, and attention for their own selfish purposes.

Cybercriminals don’t care what kind of good will you’ve forged, all they want is your data or access to your network. This blind determination is a major threat to businesses like yours. One of the most prevalent scams is what is called a Display Name Spoof. It isn’t just your regular phishing scam, and today, we’re going to teach you everything you need to know to ensure that you aren’t a cybercriminal’s next victim.

What is Display Name Spoofing?

Display name spoofing is a spear phishing tactic where hackers will target an individual—who typically has access to the network or resources that the hacker wants access to—and sends them a vaguely worded email that is seemingly sent from a trusted source, often an authority figure. Since the email address and title look legitimate, subordinates who forsake security for alacrity can put your whole business in jeopardy.

It works like this: Many professional emails will have a signature. Display name spoofers use  this to their advantage. What they will do is target a person, research them to find someone that could potentially get them to act impulsively, and use that information to phish the user. Below is an example of a display name spoof phishing attempt:

As you can see, the only thing that looks illegitimate here is the actual email address and since some email clients don’t actually show the address by default, you wouldn’t blame a dutiful employee for following the instructions in the spoofed email. 

What Can You Do to Combat Display Name Spoofing?

At your business, you have cameras, You have locks on the doors. You’ve developed secure access control procedures to ensure your employees have the authorizations they need to do their jobs. Why would your strategy change when aiming to protect your business’ most important asset? 

Just like with physical security, you need a strategy to protect your digital assets. Part of that strategy has to confront the fact that your business is going to get phished and that it is your responsibility to ensure that your employees are well trained, and therefore knowledgeable about how to identify and respond to these situations. 

Here are a few tips on how to ascertain if a message is legitimate:

● Thoroughly inspect both the name and sender’s email address before you take action.

● Check the content for misspellings or completely incorrect uses of grammar.

● Consider if the sender would send a message asking you to take cavalier action.

● Consider if the sender would ask you to send them authorization credentials through email.

If there is any reason that the recipient has a notion that the email is not legitimate, implore them to verify. Getting a verification of the email’s legitimacy typically takes minutes and can really help eliminate the risks that display name spoofing can bring to your business.

If you need help understanding how to identify phishing tactics, train your employees to do the same, and knowing what steps to take when you realize you are dealing with a phishing attack, contact the IT professionals at Jackson Thornton Technologies today at 334-834-7660.

 

 

 

Paying a Ransom Demand Could Get Even More Expensive

When it comes to ransomware, we have always stood firm in our recommendation not to pay whoever is responsible for locking down your systems. However, due to the globalized nature of technology and cybercrime, it is even more important that companies don’t attempt to placate their attackers with the demanded funds. Otherwise, warns the United States Treasury Department, these victimized businesses could very well pay severe fines for doing so.

What are the Costs of Ransomware?

Here’s the situation: in today’s increasingly connected world, cybercriminal activities can be conducted from essentially anywhere and target essentially anyone. It isn’t like the old-fashioned stick-‘em-up robbery, where the criminal had to be present to commit the crime. Now, someone in Portugal could presumably rob the Federal Credit Union of Poughkeepsie without getting up out of their poltrona.

One particularly effective tool that many cybercriminals will now use to do so is ransomware—a malware that encrypts a system and renders it effectively useless, only offering the user the means to pay the criminal responsible some fee in exchange for resumed access to their resources. Whether the cybercriminal holds up their end of the bargain is another, highly unlikely story.

As we’ve said, we recommend that you never pay these attackers… but we do understand why you may feel that is your best option. After all, it seems like the fastest way out of a bad situation and when your business is hemorrhaging money due to downtime, you’re going to want to fix the situation as quickly as possible. This is precisely what the cybercriminals are counting on.

Despite this, it really is a bad practice to pay for resumed access to your data for a number of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that you’ve no guarantee that your data will actually be returned and that the money you send will only fuel more attacks.

However, that’s just the start of your problems, should you elect to pay up.

Uncle Sam Wants to Dissuade Businesses with Different Tactics

To try and discourage ransom payments, the Treasury Department is doubling down on the advice that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been giving for years. Rather than simply discouraging businesses from paying, the Treasury Department has warned that the federal government could severely fine the businesses that pay out these ransoms for violating terms laid out by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

In their Advisory on Potential Sanctions Risks for Facilitating Ransomware Payments, OFAC outlines how many cybercriminal groups—including the North Korean Lazarus Group, the Russian cybercriminal syndicate Evil Corp, and individuals tied to SamSam and Cryptolocker—operate out of regions that are already subject to economic sanctions, or have had sanctions levied against them. These sanctions make it a crime to make any transactions with them…including ransomware payments.

After all, once that ransom is paid over, who’s to say that the money doesn’t wind up in the hands of some entity that poses a direct threat to security?

Unless given a special license by the Treasury, a business that facilitates ransomware by paying up could not only see losses in the amount of the exorbitant ransom demands, but also in the fines that could be levied up to millions of dollars.

Technically speaking, this advisory isn’t an outright ban on ransomware payments, per se. Instead, companies are encouraged to contact law enforcement to obtain clearance to pay the ransomware or to try to obtain an OFAC license to do so. However, these requests are more than likely to be denied.

There is also no telling how much these policies will be enforced, but it is almost certainly wiser to take them at face value and act accordingly.

Impact on the Insurance Industry

Adding to the complexity of the situation, this advisory flies directly counter to the advice that many insurance companies give their customers, as their advice is often to pay the ransom. The theory is that paying the ransom would ultimately be less expensive than recovering from a backup and undergoing the associated downtime—but ultimately adding to the growing ransomware problem.

These sanctions would effectively make it impossible for insurance companies to cover the costs that their policies guarantee, and it isn’t as though these companies will act in a way that violates these mandates.

Therefore, cyberinsurance policies will likely no longer include ransomware coverage. This may result in many businesses second-guessing if investing in insurance is worth the cost.

Regardless, for companies to protect themselves from the threat of ransomware, there needs to be a greater awareness of how to avoid the risks and the importance of doing so. This is especially the case right now as so many people are working remotely.

Ransomware attacks are commonly spread via phishing messages, often packaged in attachments or through disguised download links. Make sure your team members are all aware of this threat, and how they can better spot a phishing email as it comes in.

For more information on how to do so, and other security best practices and solutions, turn to us at Jackson Thornton Technologies. As a managed service provider, our mission is to help your business manage its information technology so that you can remain productive—which includes protecting it as best we can from a variety of threats. Learn more by giving us a call at 334-834-7660.

 

Reviewing Zoom’s Efforts to Improve Its Security

As a communication tool, the video conferencing app Zoom saw a considerable bump in its popularity with both personal and business users as the coronavirus pandemic made other means of meeting no longer viable. However, this sudden increase in its user base also revealed some serious security issues with the platform. Let’s examine what Zoom has done to resolve these issues since then.

Zoom’s 90-Day Security Plan

On April 1, 2020, Zoom announced that it had a 90-day plan to address the numerous security concerns and criticisms that had plagued many users. The crux of the issue was that Zoom links were commonly being shared on social media… effectively opening these meetings to anyone who could find that link. As a result, the concept of “Zoombombing”—unauthorized users hijacking meetings and sharing offensive content—was born.

After numerous attacks were waged against organizations of all kinds, Zoom saw that it needed to make some changes. Therefore, on April 1st, the company announced that it would be pausing any new features to focus specifically on those related to the platform’s security. These include:

● Passwords are now required to access all meetings

● Waiting Rooms (a space where a meeting’s guests had to wait to be approved by the host) are enabled by default

● The default settings only enable the host to share their screen

Furthermore, Zoom’s acquisition of Keybase has enabled them to incorporate end-to-end encryption. Other internal changes are also now in place including a bug bounty program, deeper penetration testing, and other security improvements.

Some Brief Controversy

However, Zoom has not escaped all criticism as it has made these changes. In June, CEO Eric Yuan shared that the end-to-end encryption feature would be exclusive to paying users. Once users and security advocates alike spoke out about this policy, Zoom quickly walked this policy back. While it is still rolling out this capacity, and it may interfere with some other features, Zoom is also actively planning for the future with its next improvements already planned out.

So, is Zoom Safe to Use?

Compared to where it was? Absolutely. However, you may still want to take what you plan on communicating into account when deciding whether to use Zoom for certain conversations, just to be safe. Erring on the side of caution is always the better option when your business communications are involved.

Whatever your business’ technology needs may be, Jackson Thornton Technologies can help you find and implement the solutions to fulfill them. To learn more about what we have to offer, give us a call at 334-834-7660 today.

 

How You Can Make IT’s Life Easier

Business relationships, especially between you and a service provider or you and a coworker, are crucial to a business’ success. However, maintaining these relationships can be challenging when there’s a good chance that your actions might create more work for another person. Let’s go over why your relationship with IT may be strained, and offer a few tips to help fix it.

Why Doesn’t IT Like Me?

If you’ve read this far, chances are that you are what an IT professional would call an “end user,” which is just someone who uses technology to accomplish their goals. Let me ask you something: how many end users would you assume have the same level of technology experience as an IT technician?

Naturally, very few end users have this level of familiarity… otherwise, there wouldn’t be any need for the IT department. As a result, the end user is more susceptible to security issues and threats—the very things that IT is trying to minimize. Looking at it this way, it is understandable that IT might occasionally be frustrated.

While we certainly know better than to try and make you an IT expert over the course of one blog, we can give you some advice to help you avoid such issues and thereby give your IT resource a bit of a break. This is a win-win, because the less time an IT professional spends cleaning up messes, the more time they can spend improving your business processes.

Seeing as it is currently Cybersecurity Month, let’s review a few troublesome tendencies that the average end user slips into that could create issues so that these habits can be broken.

Clicking on Everything

Links are a funny thing. If I were to include a link in this blog, there’s a fair chance that you might automatically click through it out of habit. Even if I expressly told you not to click through it, many end users would click through it anyways.

Let’s test this theory.

The danger here is simple: cybercriminals know how tempting it can be to click on a link, how automatically so many of us tend to do so. This is why the use of misleading links is such a major part of a phishing strategy—basically, the “made you look” of cybercrime. Rather than bringing you to the page you anticipated, a phishing attack might install malware, or create a fraudulent lookalike page to steal whatever data you input.

One of your users falling for a phishing attack is all it could take for a cybercriminal to bypass your network security, so it is important that your team knows why clicking links is more dangerous than they would expect. Make sure that, before clicking, your team members hover their cursors over any links to confirm where they will go, and when in doubt, to not click.

Installing Unapproved Software

Similarly, the “Install” button can be very tempting for an end user. The problem? That helpful-looking online application or browser add-on could easily subject your network to compatibility issues and security threats.

Considering this, you should insist that—unless a program is sourced from an operating system’s official marketplace, or your IT department has already vetted it—a user should never install anything. Ideally, they wouldn’t install it anyways, relying on IT to properly supply and configure the solutions needed for the job.

Poor Password Hygiene

Few other best practices are as frustrating for an IT technician to repeat as the guidelines for proper password creation and management. As the current standard in identity authentication, it is beyond important for you and your users to comply with assorted password rules and requirements, such as:

● Using a different one for each account

● Avoiding common password combinations and conventions

● Keeping them private, instead of sharing their passwords

● Memorizing them, instead of writing them down

If these practices are not followed, your business is essentially inviting in security issues, which IT then must deal with.

You may consider making IT’s job somewhat simpler by implementing a password management solution. This piece of software saves all a user’s passwords in an encrypted vault that is only accessible by using a single master password. This ensures that the user always has access to their necessary passwords when they need them, while also reducing the number they need to remember to one.

That way, there’s no longer any excuse for slacking in their password hygiene, and your business’ security benefits as a result.

A cyberattack is leveraged against a business just about once every 39 seconds, so you can’t afford to have your users short-change the defenses you have in place. IT has enough to worry about without this contribution. Jackson Thornton Technologies can help you out with our managed IT services, taking over some of their responsibilities and helping them to accomplish their goals.

To find out more about the managed services we offer and their operational benefits, reach out to us at 334-834-7660.

 

 

Are VPNs Really Secure?

We’ve not been shy about promoting the use of VPNs (virtual private networks) as a means of protecting your security while you are online. However, we wanted to take a bit of time to specify what a VPN can - and cannot - do to help you.

Understanding What a VPN Is

A VPN is a tool that enables you to encrypt your internet traffic.

An analogy that can be used to describe a VPN is that of a subway, as compared to a street on the surface. Let’s say that you’re traveling from point A to point B. If you choose to ride in a car on the surface, you are visible to anyone who might be on the street as well. Not only can people see who is in the car, they can see where the car is going. This is what the “typical” Internet connection is like, as far as your Internet traffic and information are concerned.

On the other hand, using a VPN is more like using the subway. When you ride the subway, someone on the surface may be aware that there is a subway traveling below them, but they cannot see it inside its underground tunnels. More importantly, they cannot see you in it. This lines up to how a VPN works: by encrypting your data and identity while in transit across the Internet, everything you do is hidden from hackers and even your Internet Service Provider.

This is commonly used, especially now, to enable secure remote work to take place. By using a VPN, an employee who is working from home can securely access resources that exist on the business’ private network. This helps to protect this data from snooping eyes.

How Well Does a VPN Protect Your Data?

Frankly, it depends, and it depends on a variety of factors.

The first factor is how you are defining the word “protect.” There are a lot of different ways that your business’ computing in general needs to be protected. A VPN’s purpose is to prevent your history and Internet connection from being snooped upon. That’s basically it. You can still download spyware, malware, and/or viruses while you’re using a VPN, especially if you visit a malicious website or allow in infected files.

There is nothing particularly secure about a VPN in its concept. Rather, the security behind the VPN’s protocols is where the real difference is. Some protocols, like the heavily exploited point-to-point tunneling protocol, just aren’t secure enough nowadays. Others, like OpenVPN or WireGuard, are considerably more secure, due to the ciphers that are in place to protect them.

Turn to us for assistance with your Virtual Private Networking.

Jackson Thornton Technoligies can assist you with your VPN, assisting you in selecting a provider and implementing the solution that best fits your business’ needs. There is far more to consider than what we’ve covered here, so make sure to give us a call and talk to our team. Give us a call at 334-834-7660 today.

 

Phishing is a Threat, Even By Phone

Telework has become crucial for businesses to sustain themselves right now, as remote work became a hard and fast requirement in the face of the coronavirus. However, if businesses aren’t careful, they could trade one issue for another in exposing themselves to security threats.

Let’s take a few moments to discuss one threat that many are facing: voice-based phishing, or vishing.

Federal Agencies Have Sounded the Alarm

Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have called attention to this variety of phishing. By calling a targeted victim, rather than sending an email or another kind of correspondence, an attacker can potentially pull the wool over their target’s eyes by using a less-expected attack strategy.

Those who are working from home are being targeted by a vishing campaign intended to acquire the access credentials needed to get into corporate networks. Once these credentials are obtained, the cybercriminals responsible can turn around and sell this access to others for their nefarious use.

How These Attacks Are Presenting Themselves

By registering lookalike domains to pose as a company’s actual resources, cybercriminals set themselves up to steal company credentials. These domains can be extremely convincing, often structured in the following ways:

● support-[company]

● ticket [company]

● employee-[company]

● [company]-support

As these pages replicate a company’s login page to their virtual private network, unwitting users are more likely to enter their credentials. This means that the attacker is then able to capture these credentials—including multi-factor authentication codes—and use them to gain access to the targeted business’ network.

Once these facsimile pages are completed, criminals then do some digging into a company to learn more about their employees. A profile is constructed, with the name, address, phone number, job title, and even length of employment for each employee included. Using this data, a hacker can call their target through a spoofed number and send them to their fraudulent VPN webpage.

This gives the hacker the means to access an employee’s work account, enabling them to collect more data for further phishing efforts or other data theft efforts. These attacks are now being directed to the team members that are currently working from home, making it even more important for your employees to be able to recognize the signs of phishing.

How to Identify Phishing Scams of All Kinds

● Exercise caution when dealing with unsolicited calls, voicemails, and any other messages from those you don’t know. If you can, double-check that the person is who they claim to be through another means of communication.

● Double-check the number of a suspected vishing caller, as well as any Internet domains you may be told to navigate to.

● Avoid visiting any websites that a caller recommends without good reason to trust their legitimacy.

Jackson Thornton Technologies is here to help you with an assortment of your business’ IT needs and concerns, including your cybersecurity. Give us a call at 334-834-7660 to learn about the services and solutions we can put in place on your behalf.

 

Ransomware is Still a Major Threat

What is Ransomware?

Simply put, ransomware is malware that holds either files or entire drives ransom, until the perpetrator of the attack is paid via cryptocurrency. If the scammer isn’t paid in the time outlined, the data/drives are deleted, and if not properly backed up, lost forever. You can see how this can be a major problem for any business unfortunate enough to be victimized by ransomware. 

Ransomware has been around for quite a while, but over the past few years, with the availability of an alternate source of payment (cryptocurrency), ransomware attacks have been commonplace. As media attention surrounding these attacks has grown, businesses have started being more vigilant.

How Businesses Ward Off Ransomware

It’s not just the one thing that can keep ransomware from being a problem for your business, but there are a few actions that need to be taken to help avoid exposure to these nefarious strains of code. Let’s take a look at a few now:

1.Have a strategy for emails - Most ransomware attacks are sent through phishing emails. Make sure that you--and your staff--understands the best practices of dealing with emails and how to spot fraudulent messages. 

2.Have a backup strategy - Ransomware is a fabulous example of why organizations need to have offsite data backup in place. If your systems are hit by ransomware, having offsite backup in place will allow you to rest assured that your data remains unencrypted and available for use. 

3.Patch your security tools - One major problem with many organizations’ cybersecurity platforms is that the tools they rely on for network and data security aren’t always updated regularly. Keeping your antivirus and firewalls updated is a good practice regardless of the presence of ransomware. 

4.Never pay - There have been high-profile ransomware attacks where the victims pay the ransom. There is no guarantee that these scammers will unencrypt the files/drives or won’t leave other malware behind after they successfully extort you. 

Jackson Thornont Technologies is the trusted name when it comes to helping businesses utilize IT the right way. Our expert technicians can help you outfit your IT infrastructure with the tools you need to keep your network up, running, and free from downtime-causing malware. Call us today at 334-864-7660 to learn more.