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Securing Your Business Against Ransomware

At The Firm, we see so many tax returns and profit and loss statements for all types of industries, but a line item for one client’s 2019 expenses stopped us in our tracks: ransom.

Our client, doing roughly $25 million dollars per year, was hit with ransomware – a malicious attack that came via a phishing email and encrypted important company files. This made the company’s internal system basically shut down with no access until the ransom was paid. In our client’s case, it was roughly $15,000, the cost of 1 Bitcoin at the time of the attack.

The FBI’s 2019 Internet Crime Report was released this week, and there’s no doubt that ransomware attacks are on the rise. Last year, there were 2,047 reports in the U.S. alone, amounting to losses of more than $8.9 million. Victims ranged from individuals to large companies and organizations like the Cleveland Airport, and even to major cities like Atlanta and Baltimore.

With this in mind, The Firm Advisors has compiled a list of tips for business owners to help prevent attacks on your company, sourced from the DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Norton, the creators of antivirus software.

Protecting Your Network and Preventing Ransomware Attacks

  • Check the Sender’s address. Oftentimes these attacks come from phishing emails and may look legitimate, until you see the sender’s email address ends in a funny domain name.
  • Only open attachments from sources you know and trust. Do not click links embedded within the email without reading the address – it may lead to an infected website that will automatically download the malicious software that scammers use.
  • Use antivirus software and a firewall, and make sure your security software is kept up-to-date and that your operating systems and software have current patches installed.
  • Keep multiple system backups, both automatic and manual.
  • Look into Cybersecurity Insurance in addition to your standard E&O insurance.
  • If infected, isolate the infected system by taking it offline before it can spread to other computers and devices, then change all system passwords.

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