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Protecting Business from Ransomware - Building Suppliers

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2 Ransomware usually manifests as follows: First, an infected file somehow is introduced into a business network or system. This can occur a number of ways, but often occurs because of a human factor. Whether it is someone that clicks on a virus-laden file in an e-mail, visits a website that is infected, or otherwise copies a file onto their computer, the result is the same—infection. Then, the ransomware on one computer often tries to spread to other computers over local networks and the internet through security "holes." Once it finds another computer to infect, it simply and broadly encrypts that data to hold it hostage. At this point, the business owners and managers know they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Data remains held for ransom until the ransom is paid. Payment is typically accepted in the form of a "cryptocurrency" called "Bitcoin," because this payment process is nearly impossible for law enforcement agencies to track and make arrests. A pop-up message shows how the price of the ransom goes up as time passes until the final time limit expires. At that point, the data will be deleted. Who does this and why? Ransomware is the product of a billion-dollar global industry. The software is created and used by hackers who usually live in countries that do not cooperate with international laws or foreign governments. Unlike common thieves, the hackers behind ransomware and other cyberattacks are highly educated and trained. They know they are committing crimes instead of using their skills for good, and their plans are guided by greed. What can I do to help prevent an attack? While it is impossible to always stay one step ahead of cyber-thieves, there are several things your business should consider that will help prevent a cyberattack. If you run your business management ERP in the cloud, the majority of the items below will be handled for you, however, if you are not using cloud-based software, you will need to perform these steps yourself. Therefore, engaging a credible IT security organization either through a cloud solution or directly is an important step that will help offload some of the responsibility for these tasks: • Install and manage a firewall that restricts traffic to only what is necessary for your business. • Install antivirus software on all machines to scan, block, and delete malware and viruses. • Set antivirus programs up to perform continuous monitoring and daily scans of your systems for threats. • "Patch" all operating systems, software, and firmware on all computers and devices to ensure security updates are applied. • For remote workers, use a company laptop if possible and instruct employees to not use their company laptop for personal use. If the use of personal equipment is unavoidable, make sure it is up to office security standards. • Use "spam filters" to help prevent "phishing" emails from reaching email accounts. Reinforce this with training on how to recognize and avoid falling prey to such tactics. • Perform regular—at least weekly, preferably daily—backups of your data. Take these backups "offline" when complete. • Make sure that employees are not using public wifi to ensure that the connection between your network and the office is secure. • Test your restore plan to be sure backup data can serve its function in a time of emergency. • Strengthen passwords and shorten the time for new passwords to be created. • Document and frequently test security policies that instruct your employees in best practices. • Train employees about the various types of attacks and how to avoid them. • Allow access to critical data only to employees that need it.

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