Malware, ransomware, viruses, and hacking are ways criminals attack businesses instead of traditional fraud, scams, and theft. Those are still attempted, but cyber attacks are more prevalent since most businesses rely on the internet for processes, customers, data storage, and communication. As technology advances, so does the extent of internet crimes. The major threat used to be to business desk top computers. Today, criminals can import a virus to laptops, tablets, smart phones, and other mobile devices. They utilize emails, social media, and malware advertisements to infect systems.
The biggest current threat is ransomware. Criminals send emails to businesses that contain ransomware viruses. The virus will either block the business out of the computer system altogether, or encrypt substantial amounts of data rendering it useless. The purpose is to extort payment in exchange for a decryption code. Business owners should not pay the demanded amount to criminals. There are two reasons for this practice. The first is to prevent successful hacking, which will perpetuate the problem. The second is that there is no guarantee that payment will result in the full restoration of files and data. It is common for businesses to make a payment only to have a second payment demanded, or to lose data anyway.
There is help for businesses that have been attacked. Decryption tools are available online that remove the encryption lock and make systems usable again. Data recovery tools are also available to help restore as much data as possible. If there is too much damage to data some of it may be lost. The best way to avoid losing data and files is to take security measures to prevent an attack. Begin by developing strong policies regarding passwords, how and when to access data, and reporting any suspicious emails or interactions online. Training staff to detect phishing emails and only use secure business devices to access information. Limit access to information to only those employees who require it to do their jobs. Select more than one backup method for data. Data can be backed up on a flash drive and in the cloud, or on a separate hard drive and the internet. A security risk assessment by professionals is also wise.