The biggest ransomware attack in history left business owners in all vectors scrambling to recover in early May. According to Fox Business, some 200,000 businesses around the world were unable to access files or faced privacy breaches following ransom demands by an anonymous attacker. As of the latest report by the BBC, only $38,000 was paid after a college surfer cracked the code and terminated the malware.
A BBC analysis weighed in on the airing and warned that small business owners should be wary. Even though hackers target big businesses for larger sums of money, the bulk of all ransomware attacks is directed at smaller companies.
Smaller enterprises, according to the report, are low-hanging fruits for hackers, mainly because staff typically undergo less training. Paired with the lack of backup systems in place for SMBs, hackers can easily strong-arm struggling entrepreneurs by demanding cash for important records.
Business consultant, Gene Marks, of The Marks Group recommends that all small business owners subscribe to an online backup system. For $60 per year, backup leaders like Carbonite and Mozy save files and databases every day of the year. If a ransomware attack were to happen, business owners would hypothetically only lose a few hours’s worth of data – compared to years.
According to Mark, hackers are likely to move on when these systems are in place and business owners have limited amounts of information to lose. Moreover, statistics show that SMBs who give in to ransom requests are more likely to be targeted in the future.
Ethical hacker, Charles Tendell, disagrees to some extent with Mark’s advice. He believes that there is very little that businesses can do to prevent hacking. However, the backup plan is still a good idea for securing an added level of protection.
Tendell has a three-tier advice for small business owners, which includes testing backup systems to determine if they work. The other two nuggets of wisdom shared by Tendell include switching to a cloud-based storage and avoiding external storage devices at all costs.