Last year was filled with news about cyber-attacks, and the rise of bitcoin. Everyone heard about how bitcoin was gaining in value and began jumping on the bandwagon. Then it all went silent, this year there has been a lack of news regarding cyber-attacks. But that does not mean that they have stopped, they are just targeting small businesses who don't get the attention of the media.
Kaspersky Security Network and McAfee Labs have both released reports in the past year about the gradual decline in ransomware attacks. Dropping around 30 percent in the last year. Last year the news was filled with stories about massive attacks to huge corporations and the rise of bitcoin as a result. With more public knowledge on bitcoin it has become less appealing to criminals and they have turned to different methods.
Instead there has been a rise in cryptocurrency mining malware attacks. Because it’s less complicated and risky it holds more appeals to low level cyber criminals. Cryptojacking only requires the infection of a computer with a malware which then uses the computers processing power to mine for cryptocurrency. Unlike ransomware it’s a stealthy operation if the person doesn’t notice their computer is infected and provides a steady stream of income. But while this is gaining in popularity that doesn’t mean that we can ignore the dangers of ransomware.
The city of Atlanta experienced an attack in March that was projected to cost them at least 2.6 million. While the recent attacks are not at the same scale as they used to be, they are still prevalent against smaller businesses. Most small businesses want to avoid the publicity of an attack, so they settle quickly and don’t speak about what happened. This allows the attackers to fly under the radar and continue to target smaller businesses.
Which is why small businesses should dedicate time to educate themselves on the dangers and set up ways to protect themselves.
Some tips to protect your business:
- Perform regular backups: This is a key way to keep your data safe even in the event of an attack, and if you have cloud storage make sure that it is protected against ransomware
- Have Anti-malware installed: Antivirus is a valuable defense against infection
- Update your software: Updates often mean bug fixes and more security so keep it up
- Keep file extensions visable: This will help you notice weird attachments in emails so you can avoid phishing scams
- Be careful with emails: Attachments and even emails can be dangerous for any company or unsuspecting employees. Make sure your team is educated on how to avoid clicking unsafe links or falling for phishing emails
- Don't enable macros in document attachments you receive: a lot of harmful maleware can be spread around this way
- Disable remote connections: instead invest in Office 365 which allows your employees to have access to their files where ever they are without needing to remote in to their computers