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Ransomware, Only a Concern for Large and Medium Sized Businesses?

Ransomware - a concern for small business

Afraid not, recent reports show that Cyber criminals are finding individuals and small businesses very lucrative. Unfortunately not all attacks are reported, allowing multiple sites to be infected.

Ransomware is a type of software that restricts access to a victim’s computer system and demands a ransom be paid to the perpetrator in order for that restriction to be removed.

In today’s online world everyone needs to protect themselves. While by no means an exhaustive list, hopefully, the below points can provide some ideas as to where you, as a small business owner, can strengthen your defence against Cyber Criminals.

1. Forewarned is Forearmed

Make use of resources like the Stay Smart Online and ACORN websites. Sign up to the Email Alerts from Stay Smart Online (the Australian Government’s online safety and security website) and it will send you out emails outlining current scams that are circulating and advise you when new updates are released from companies like Microsoft, Adobe or Google etc.

If you are concerned that you have fallen victim to cybercrime you should report it to the ACORN.

2. Current Offline Backups

Get into the habit of frequently creating offline backups of your data. Storing your data in the Cloud is not a foolproof backup! A little time invested in backing up your data now will give you the option to restore it later and avoid paying hundreds or even thousands of hard earned dollars to access YOUR data in the future! A private server or external hard drive are great options for additional data storage.

3. Educate Users

Users can be a weak link with great power at their fingertips. Make sure Users are vigilant when opening emails and web browsing. Always remind Users to:

  1. Beware of emails out of the ordinary. Check the times on emails, check for bad grammar or spelling errors.
  2. Be vigilant of hyperlinks that are displayed in emails. Is the link a misspelling of a known web site? Or a completely unknown site altogether?
  3. Be mindful of attachments with possible dangerous file types. (For Windows Users: Show hidden file extensions. Cryptolocker arrived in a file that was named with the extension “.PDF.EXE”. If you enable the ability to see the full file extension, it can be easier to spot suspicious files.)

4. Install Antivirus Software

There are free and paid options of Antivirus Software available from the same companies. The most noticeable difference between the gratis and the paid programs is when it comes to detecting new threats. Paid products have more elaborate system-behaviour monitors which are more likely to pick up malware and to warn you about other possible dangers and let’s face it, is there really much benefit in learning the lottery numbers after the draw?

5. Mobile Devices and USB Sticks

Just like PC’s and laptops, it is important to keep mobile devices up to date with the latest software. Rethink how employees share their data. The new Spora Ransomware Worm is spreading itself through USB sticks. You might do everything to secure your data at work, only to have it be infected by an employee bringing in a USB stick from home.

The above tips, like a Moula Business Loan, are quick, smart and allow you to refocus your energy back into growing your business.

Author:

Piers is a co-founder and CTO of Moula. Piers spent over 14 years with numerous banks responsible for in-house application development across numerous programming languages. Piers’ team has built Moula’s proprietary lending platform catering specifically to small businesses in Australia. Piers has a Bachelor of Science from University College London and a Masters in Science from Middlesex University London.

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