Rise in ransomware shows anyone can be affected

Based on information from a recent Freedom of Information request survey, it transpires that many of Britain’s universities and health institutions are frequent targets for ransomware demands (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-37166545). That may be down to the large student populations, many of whom many be unaware of the threat, but the news highlights the risks to all types and sizes of business.

Bournemouth University was attacked at least 21 times in the last year, but avoided being infected thanks to its Internet security systems, and perhaps by the fact that it runs a BSc Honours course in Cyber Security Management. Some of the universities, however, lacked basic antivirus software, which should also act as a wake up call to all businesses. If entire universities think that attacks will never happen to them, or rely on staff or students to protect the institution, then how many companies, large and small, are taking the same careless approach?

Regardless of how many PCs or mobile devices your workplace has, it only takes one successful attack, one untrained user opening the wrong file or link, and your business data could instantly be compromised, stolen or held for digital ransom. Every business should protect its systems with antivirus software, firewalls, spam filters, and teach its workers how to spot phishing attacks, malware-laden files and other threats.

If you are not sure which software or services you need, we can help provide the computer and network security systems right for your business, along with data recovery, and disaster recovery and business continuity planning services to make sure your business can survive a loss of data or unexpected disaster like a building fire or flood.

The volume of these attacks will only increase as many smaller businesses embrace new technology, move to the cloud and allow more workers mobile or remote access to data. Only adequate training and protection can help defend the business, and any company not staying up to date with data protection could face itself with a hefty ransom demand or simply fold when its data, be it customer records, financial information or product databases, vanish without trace.