As 2022 shifts into gear, reports are run, documents are exported, emails are drafted. All of this information – all of it – can become a valuable pawn in a cyber attack.

As companies continue to use less paper, more documents are shared on networks and those networks are susceptible to break-ins.

What does this mean?

Cyber attackers do more these days than put a virus on your laptop. Today, it’s a full-fledged business to attack a company’s network, locking employees out of systems until a ransom is paid.  That’s right, I said a business.  They are organized and focused, with specific account strategies and target clients (victims).  These criminals, who believe they are business people, might be watching your network right now. Sure, you do a weekly backup but they know where that backup is, and they know when it’s done. And they know when to attack so that your company loses the most amount of information possible. 

What does it look like?

You may come into your office Monday morning just like always… you’re catching up with friends, talking about Sunday Night Football, turning on your office light and waking up your computer when a ransom note appears on your home screen. Your next steps may vary among any of the following:

  • Contact your local law enforcement agency
  • Contact the FBI.
  • Check your insurance policy and call your agent
  • You may be asked to connect to the chat feature on a weblink provided by the ransom company to get more information
  • You may actually receive a call from the threat actors

The important thing is not to panic. Listen to the authorities who will guide you through the process and advise you how to handle it.

What can you do to prevent a ransom attack? Our top tips:

  1. Contact your insurance agent, be sure you understand your coverage for this type of attack.
  2. Stay current with IT attack information through your insurance company, or local and federal authorities.
  3. Store more information and move as many applications as possible to the cloud rather than local servers.
  4. Make sure all software ix up to date with the latest security patches.
  5. Make sure all remote login devices, such as VPN’s, are current with hardware, firmware, and software security patches are current.
  6. Implement password change policies.
  7. Consistently remind your team not to click on links from unknown sources.
  8. Run internal tests to see if your Team is complying with NOT clicking on unknown sources.
  9. Run backups throughout the week, at different times of the day.