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How to protect your business from devastating cyber attacks

How to protect your business from devastating cyber attacks
The number of cryptolocker attacks continue to rise, and many remain in the dark about the devastation these viruses can inflict on unsuspecting businesses. But there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent becoming a victim and secure your data.

Cryptolockers are a particularly malicious style of 'ransomware' attacks. These viruses, typically disguised as an email attachment, encrypt all of the data held on the victim's computer or server. The hackers then demand an exorbitant ransom to decrypt and return the data. Leading cyber security experts have warned many cryptolocker encryptions are nearly unbreakable, and the number of attacks are on the rise. Australia has become a priority target for these hackers, with local businesses handing over almost $400,000 for their data last year. However, a vigilant and informed business can save itself from becoming a victim, or mitigate the damage from these devastating attacks

Create awareness

Vigilance is the best way to protect your business from becoming a victim. Making staff aware of the dangers of cryptolocker attacks and the role individuals play in securing your business, can be your best defence. In fact, many successful attacks are simply the result of user error. Cryptolocker viruses are often disguised as email attachments for free software updates, shopping deals, or even a business transaction document, among many other variations.

It is important to remind all staff:
- Be aware of the dangers and severity of cryptolocker attacks
- Never open emails or attachments from unverified sources
- Never open emails or attachments if they are unsure of its nature
- Never download software from unverified sources or without permission

Always be prepared

Surprisingly, many criminals can't be trusted. Meeting the demands of hackers won't ensure all, or even any, of your data will make it back into your hands. Paying a ransom simply emboldens hackers to continue their scams and target other businesses and individuals. In the event a business becomes a victim, maintaining secure, isolated backups is the best option. Recovering from regular backups provides a nearly up-to-date restoration, getting your business back on its feet in no time, and greatly reducing the data loss from an intrusion. Hosting your data and software in the cloud can often protect your data from malicious attacks far better than hosting in-house. However, if you are hosting your business locally, ensure your dedicated IT administrator is prepared for a possible intrusion from ransomware or other damaging attacks.

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