Watch Out! 2017 Top Security Threats Against Businesses Are Ransomware & Maladverts

Security experts are warning businesses of all sizes to stay alerted for ransomware and mail advert attacks against them.

Security experts are warning businesses of all sizes to stay alerted for ransomware and maladvert attacks against them. In fact, the Federal Bureau of Investigation renewed its warnings concerning the increasing pace of ransomware.

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Fact Check: What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is malware downloaded on an individual’s computer or a business’s computer system, Once the virus is unleashed, it freezes a computer or a computer system making it useless. To get files unlocked, victims pay a ransom, usually in Bitcoins. Most often, the ransomware is attached to an email.

Initially, ransomware targeted home computer users. The cyber criminals asked for small ransoms – often less than $100. Usually, home users directly paid the ransom, and their computers were released from being frozen. It wasn’t long before the criminals trolling the internet realized that if home users paid, businesses would too. They were right, and in 2016 ransomware became the number one security scourge for business.

Interestingly, when companies do pay the ransom, they get their systems and data decrypted. Knowing this helps cyber gangs keep the scam going as businesses think it is cheaper to pay than prevent a ransomware attack.

Fact Check: What is Maladverts?

Maladverts is using web advertisements to spread malware. Much of the malware these ads attempt to download is ransomware. Maladverts looks like and likes legitimate advertising and is distributed in the same way that non-threatening advertising is directed to businesses. They can be an offer for a download of a whitepaper, sign up for a newsletter, or other means.

Fact Check: Can Businesses Protect Against Ransomware?

Most of the time ransomware requires a user to click on a link that begins a download. Wherever humans are involved, there is the potential and likelihood of a mistake happening. This means giving company employees information and expectations of protecting company data and operating systems from ransomware are paramount. So, employees need information on:

  • What ransomware is
  • How attacks are done
  • Never opening an email or email attachment from an unknown source

Businesses also must adapt to the threat of ransomware by doing daily backups – at least one copy that is not stored on the computer system. As well as:

  1. Keeping operating systems and programs updated with security patches as soon as they are released
  2. Install and keeping up antivirus software
  3. Consider investing in firewall hardware and software

The above three issues may not be within the constraints of your company’s IT resourced. Businesses so affected should consider using an expert managed services provider with a solid grounding in IT security,

Fact Check: Can Businesses Protect Against Maladverts?

The same precautions used to protect against ransomware attacks are applicable for protecting businesses from maladverts. There is one issue that makes protecting against maladverts harder than protecting against ransomware, and that is that the bots carried in some maladverts download themselves when they just appear on a user’s screen. Reliable antivirus and firewall technology helps mitigate this type of stealth attack. There are some clues as to how to identify a maladvert to share with employees. They are

  1. Advertisements with spelling mistakes
  2. Ads that look off due to poor graphic
  3. Ads offering outrageous results

For help in thwarting ransomware and maladvertising contact NetOne Technologies an experienced provider of IT security managed services. We are in South Florida and can be reached at (561) 432-7823 or sales@netonetech.com.

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